BEIJING (AP) – The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Friday approved the first drug developed by Aimmune Therapeutics to treat peanut allergies in children. The drug, called Palforzia, is available in children ages 4 to 17, according to data released by the FDA, and is designed to minimize the incidence and severity of peanut allergic reactions in children, who can be very harmful to children with peanut allergies even with a small amount of exposure.
“When using the drug, Palforzia offers FDA-approved treatment options to help reduce the risk of allergic reactions in children with peanut allergies.”
According to the American Society for Allergy Asthma and Immunology, more than 2.5 percent of children in the United States are allergic to peanuts. This is one of the most common food allergy symptoms in the United States.
For those with allergies, exposure to peanuts can cause convulsions, indigestion, urticaria, swelling and even fainting or dizziness.
The new treatment is essentially by getting children to receive a controlled dose of peanut protein until they reach a maintenance level.
In a trial submitted by Aimmune Therapeutics, the maker of Palforzia, two-thirds of children were allergic after eating the same amount of two types of peanuts after months of treatment. Patients with reactions need treatment for six months or more, and about 9% of children taking the drug have to stop treatment because of severe allergic reactions.
Palforzia is a powdered drug made from actual peanuts and mixed with semi-solid foods such as yogurt or apple sauce. Aimmune has set Palforzia at $890 a month and says doctors can expect to start using the drug “within weeks.”