It’s been a heavy headline week regarding peanuts. Between the recent recalls and what is being dubbed a possible peanut allergy cure, newspapers are now reporting on recent peanut desensitization trials.
This is something we’ve known about at Best Allergy Sites for a while but have sat on due to the fear of causing a misconception regarding what this really means. But now that the cat is out of the bag, we thought we’d weigh in.
There currently are trials being done for peanut allergy desensitization. Some involve ingesting a small amount of peanut flour working up towards actual peanuts. Others involve sublingual immunotherapy-drops of peanut protein placed under the tongue over a period of time. Both aim to desensitize the patient to peanut protein so that he or she can ingest small amounts without a reaction.
Sublingual immunotherapy is currently being done at Duke University with an expected trial completion date of December 2010.
Per our discussion with an allergist, this does work and looks promising. However, it is not FDA approved. There is still a high anaphylaxis rate in the severely allergic. The kinks still need to be worked out. It’s our understanding though that allergists are hopeful that this will be available within the next five years.
It’s important to remember that this is not a peanut allergy cure. It’s merely creating a tolerance so that peanut allergy sufferers can worry less about cross contamination or accidental ingestion of small amounts of peanut protein.
Bottom line-do not read these headlines/articles and assume that you can give yourself or your child small amounts of peanut to desensitize him or her. This is something currently done in medical trials only and under the close supervision of medical professionals.
To learn more about these studies/trials, see the links below.