Peanut allergy treatment effective in toddlers, study finds

Experts have found that younger patients are more likely to achieve complete remission.

A peanut allergy treatment often used in children 4 and older in the United States also appears to be safe for toddlers, according to a new study.

About 2% of children nationwide suffer from allergies, some to a debilitating degree, which is why the finding is “extremely exciting,” said Dr. David Stukus, professor of clinical pediatrics and director of Nationwide’s Food Allergy Treatment Center. . Children’s hospital.

In the study, conducted by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at several hospitals, researchers added powder containing peanuts to children’s daily diets and found that over time, a large majority of them have become desensitized to peanuts.

A smaller group of children even achieved complete remission, meaning they were no longer allergic to peanuts at all.

While nearly all of the children studied had reactions to peanut products, most were mild to moderate in severity, experts said.

The study also found that the younger the patients were at the start of treatment, the better they tolerated peanuts and the more likely they were to achieve complete remission.

This means that treatment may be more effective if started while children’s immune systems are still developing.

“This suggests that if we start treatment earlier, it is possible to help some children become allergy-free,” said Dr Lisa Wheatley, section chief in the Division of Allergy, Immunology and Transplantation. from NIAID.

Pediatric immunology experts interviewed by ABC News said they believe the study marks a milestone in allergy research. Still, they said more studies are needed to better understand young children’s immune systems and how they change.

Experts said children with a history of severe allergic reactions were excluded from the study and warned that adding peanut products to the diet of children with known peanut allergies may cause reactions serious and should only be performed under the direction of a physician.

They added that while the study results are promising, there is no single treatment plan for children with peanut allergy, and parents should weigh the risks, benefits and expectations before letting their children receive treatment of any kind.

Aubrie Ford is an emergency medicine resident at Northwell Health in New York and a contributor to the ABC News Med Unit.

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