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Christina Ciaccio, MD, MSc: Arachis Hypogaea for Peanut Allergy

The expert discusses the first FDA-approved drug of its kind for peanut allergy.

Peanut allergy is the second most common food allergy in children and cases are rising.

But arachis hypogaea (Palforzia) has been tested to treat children with the allergy. With arachis hypogaea, providers give children who are allergic to peanut a tiny dose of peanut and then slowly bump up the dose to get the children to eat a peanut’s worth of peanut protein every day.

“By doing so, we know we can make them bite-safe, which to us means that if they were accidentally to have a bite of peanut, they would be much less likely to have a severe allergic reaction with that ingestion,” Christina Ciaccio, MD, MSc, of the University of Chicago Medical Center, said in a recent interview with HCPLive®.

Arachis hypogaea differs from other peanut allergy therapies because it is the first-ever FDA-approved treatment for the condition, according to Ciaccio.

Prior to the approval, the strategy was to tell families their child needed to strictly avoid peanuts and carefully read the labels of all foods being consumed. Such families would need to be prepared with an epinephrine auto-injector just in case their child did have an allergic reaction with an accidental bite.