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New skin patch tested for peanut immunotherapy in toddlers

Article

A new study investigates taking this treatment a step further, evaluating the effect of epicutaneous immunotherapy in toddlers with known peanut allergies.

New skin patch tested for peanut immunotherapy in toddlers | Image Credit: © Tanawut - © Tanawut - stock.adobe.com.

New skin patch tested for peanut immunotherapy in toddlers | Image Credit: © Tanawut - © Tanawut - stock.adobe.com.

Roughly 1 in 13 children in the United States are believed to have food allergies,1 and peanut allergies are one of the most common. Nearly 3% of US children are believed to have peanut allergies, and while many outgrow this allergy by adulthood, rates of peanut allergy diagnosis among school-aged children have increased by about 20% since 2010.2

Oral immunotherapy has increased in popularity among clinicians in recent years, as trials have shown an efficacy rate of around 21%. Oral immunotherapy is usually done in children between the ages of 1 and 3 by administering daily oral doses of peanut flour.3

A new study investigates taking this treatment a step further, evaluating the effect of epicutaneous immunotherapy in toddlers with known peanut allergies.

There is no current approved or recommended treatment method for peanut allergies, according to the report. In this phase 3 study, researchers investigated the safety and efficacy of a patch-based version of immunotherapy that has been shown to be both safe and effective in earlier trials among children aged 4 to 11 years. The epicutaneous patch trialed in the newest study uses lower allergen doses than other forms of peanut immunotherapy, according to the report, delivering 250 micrograms of peanut protein to children aged 1 to 3 years.

The study group was made up of children aged 1 to 3 years who had an allergic response to 300 micrograms or less of peanut proteins. The group was evaluated after 12 months of daily epicutaneous patch use, and 67% in the intervention group compared to 33.5% of children in the placebo group reported improvements in allergic response. Serious adverse events and anaphylaxis occurred in 8.6% and 7.8% of children in the intervention group, respectively, compared to 2.5% and 3.4% in the placebo groups, respectively. Anaphylaxis specific to the treatment patch and not to the underlying peanut allergy was reported among 1.6% of children in the intervention group, the report notes.

Despite these reactions, the overall conclusion of the study team was that the patch was effective in desensitizing children aged 1 to 3 to peanut allergies and reducing symptoms of an allergic reaction. The epicutaneous patch was not compared in this study to oral immunotherapy for peanut allergies.

References:

1. Food Allergy Research & Education. The Food Allergy Epidemic. Accessed June 2, 2023. https://www.foodallergy.org/resources/facts-and-statistics

2. American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology. Peanut. Updated June 1, 2022. Accessed June 2, 2023. https://acaai.org/allergies/allergic-conditions/food/peanut/

3. Greenhawt M, Sindher SB, Wang J, et al. Phase 3 Trial of Epicutaneous Immunotherapy in Toddlers with Peanut Allergy. NEJM. May 11, 2023; 388:1755-1766 doi:10.1056/NEJMoa2212895. Accessed June 1, 2023. https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa2212895

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