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Peanut oral immunotherapy safe, effective for children

Low and high doses of peanut protein were shown to help prevent allergic reaction to peanuts in young children.

By
Stephen Feller
Another study by the National Institutes of Health suggests the slow introduction of peanut protein to children's diets can help prevent peanut allergy in children, this time with preschoolers between the ages of 9 and 36 months. Photo by inewsfoto/Shutterstock
Another study by the National Institutes of Health suggests the slow introduction of peanut protein to children's diets can help prevent peanut allergy in children, this time with preschoolers between the ages of 9 and 36 months. Photo by inewsfoto/Shutterstock

BETHESDA, Md., Aug. 11 (UPI) -- The slow introduction and gradual increase of peanut proteins has been shown in several studies to prevent allergic reaction to peanuts in children, suggesting the condition can be corrected.

A study at the University of North Carolina found both low- and high-dose treatment courses of peanut oral immunotherapy allowed young children to introduce peanuts to their diet without adverse health effects, the National Institutes of Health reports.

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NIH researchers have been looking for methods of reducing the allergy, finding in a study earlier this year that a similar method of slow introduction of peanut protein could in infants could prevent the allergy from being a problem.

For the new study, published in The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, researchers recruited 40 peanut-allergic children between the ages of 9 and 36 months for treatment with either 300- or 3,000-milligram doses of OIT every day, matching them with 154 peanut-allergic children who were not treated.

Of the children who finished the trial, 78 percent were responsive to the treatment and found to be 19 times more likely to successfully consume peanuts without having an allergic reaction.

The study is just the latest to show the efficacy of slow introduction of peanut protein to the diet in order to prevent allergy. Another larger study on oral immunotherapy for peanut allergy, conducted by the Immune Tolerance Network at several university facilities around the United States, is expected to be completed sometime in 2018.

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