The FDA Just Approved a New Medication for Peanut Allergies

I've always empathized with peanut-free folks, namely because I, myself, am a peanut butter fiend that can't imagine life without Reese's. But PB&J's aren't the only threat. Merely inhaling peanut dust can cause a severe reaction. But that could soon change now that the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) has approved a peanut allergy medication.

The FDA officially authorized Aimmune Therapeutics Inc. to begin sales on the drug, Palforzia, Grub Street reports. The treatment involves increasing peanut protein amounts over the course of a six month period, allowing for patients to build up a tolerance. While the tolerance won't allow patients to dive spoon first into a tub of peanut butter, it will hopefully prevent life-threatening immune-system reactions.

"Peanut allergy affects approximately 1 million children in the US and only 1 out of 5 of these children will outgrow their allergy. Because there is no cure, allergic individuals must strictly avoid exposure to prevent severe and potentially life-threatening reactions," Director of the FDA's Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, M.D. Ph.D. Peter Marks said in a statement. "Even with strict avoidance, inadvertent exposures can and do occur. When used in conjunction with peanut avoidance, Palforzia provides an FDA-approved treatment option to help reduce the risk of these allergic reactions in children with peanut allergy."

The drug, which is targeted for children 4 to 17, is given in three stages: initial dose escalation, up-dosing, and maintenance. And while it's definitely not a cure (patients will still carry an Epi pen and avoid consumption), it seems as if it'll drastically improve quality of life.

h/t Grub Street

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 Megan Schaltegger is a staff writer at Thrillist. Follow her @MegSchaltegger. 
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