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Oral Immunotherapy Can Desensitize Children to Peanuts

THURSDAY, Jan. 30, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Peanut oral immunotherapy (OIT) is efficacious for desensitization of children with peanut allergy, according to a phase 2 study published online Jan. 30 in The Lancet.

Katherine Anagnostou, Ph.D., from Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust in the United Kingdom, and colleagues conducted a randomized crossover trial to compare the efficacy of active OIT using characterized peanut flour with control (peanut avoidance). Eligible participants, aged 7 to 16 years, were randomized to OIT (39 children) or control (46 children) for six months (first phase). Control participants underwent OIT during the second phase.

After the first phase, the researchers found that desensitization (defined as a negative peanut challenge) was recorded for 62 percent in the active group compared with none in the control group. After OIT, 84 percent of the active group reported tolerating daily ingestion of 800 mg protein (equivalent to about five peanuts), with a median increase in peanut threshold of 1,345 mg. Fifty-four and 91 percent, respectively, tolerated 1,400 mg challenge and daily ingestion of 800 mg protein after the second phase. After OIT, there was a significant improvement in quality of life scores. Mild side effects were seen in most participants, with gastrointestinal symptoms being the most common.

"OIT successfully induced desensitization in most children within the study population with peanut allergy of any severity, with a clinically meaningful increase in peanut threshold," the authors write.

Two authors are inventors on a patent application that covers the protocol described in this study.

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