People who suffer from peanut allergy may soon have a solution for their problem, reveals a new study.
Millions of people suffer from allergic reactions to nuts and most of them are also allergic to peanuts. About three million, or 1 percent, of the entire U.S. population is believed to suffer from some form of nut allergy. However, these people may soon get some relief from the potentially lethal reactions that can result from exposure to peanuts and other subtances derived from peanuts.
The Viaskin Peanut Patch, developed by DBV Technologies, is showing some promise in its clinical trials and researchers suggest that the allergy patch can come to the rescue of thousands of peanut allergy sufferers.
Researchers suggest that epicutaneous immunotherapy (EPIT, or allergy patches) is a new way that induces tolerance to peanut protein, which is given in small doses via patches that are placed on the skin of allergic people.
The latest study, which DBV Technologies has funded, included 221 participants suffering from peanut allergies. The study involves testing of 250 µg, 100 µg and 50 µg of doses over a period of 12 months. The participants were also given peanuts to consume before enrolling and after 12 months of the study to establish individual threshold of the allergy.
"After one year of therapy, half of the patients treated with the 250 ug patch tolerated at least 1 gram of peanut protein - about four peanuts -which is 10 times the dose that they tolerated in their entry oral peanut challenge," says Hugh Sampson, the first author of the study.
Sampson suggests that the peanut patch does not have any major side effects and only less than one percent of the participants left the study due to adverse symptoms of the treatment.
The researchers suggest that it is good news for allergic people as well as for their families. DBV Technologies reveal that peanut allergy related incidents results in around 125,000 visits to the emergency room each year. Peanut allergy also results in the deaths of between 150 to 200 people each year in the U.S.
Anaphylactic shock is considered the most severe reaction to peanuts; however, such an allergy can also affect the quality of life of a sufferer. Peanut allergies can also lead to psychological trauma, anti-social behavior, anxiety and fear of eating.
The results of the latest trial is definitely encouraging; however, it can take several years before extensive trials are conducted to confirm the efficacy of the patch, which hopefully will lead to an approved product ready for mass consumption.