For peanut allergy, oral immunotherapy (OIT) is safe and equally effective as it suppresses allergic immune responses to peanut in children, said a study. The OIT treatment of peanut allergy consists of eating small amount of peanut protein daily and increasing it gradually.
As some studies have already shown that peanut OIT in older children can provide protection against potentially life-threatening anaphylaxis caused by peanut exposure, the new finding supports the OIT further as a treatment.
Wesley Burks, researcher at the University of North Carolina in the US, studied younger children whose duration of peanut allergy was short. He found that OIT could alter the course of the allergy and allow safe introduction of peanut into the diet on daily basis.
The study examined 40 peanut-allergic children in the age group of 9 to 36 months and they were given either high-dose peanut OIT with a target daily dose of 3,000 mg peanut protein or a low-dose regimen with a target dose of 300 mg.
However, all participants faced some side effects like abdominal pain but the symptoms were mild and required little or no treatment, said researchers. In their experiment that spanned over 29 months on average, participants avoided peanut completely for four weeks before taking it again.
Nearly 80% of peanut-allergic preschool children successfully received peanut OIT. Compared to those who had avoided the therapy, the OIT-treated children were more likely to successfully incorporate peanut into their diets, said the researchers.
The paper was published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.