For Kids Allergic to Peanuts, a Patch Holds Promise

Study suggests it offers a measure of protection against exposure
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted May 15, 2023 11:20 AM CDT
Patch Holds Promise for Kids Allergic to Peanuts
Stock photo.   (Getty/Pismenskova)

A study in the New England Journal of Medicine offers some hopeful news for the parents of toddlers with peanut allergies. Researchers found that if children wear a patch that dispenses a tiny amount of a peanut protein for a year, they're likely to build up protection against being accidentally exposed, per Science Alert. The study involved 362 kids ages 1 to 3 around the world. Of them, 244 wore the patch and 118 got a placebo, reports CNN. At the end of the trial, two-thirds of the patch-wearing kids were deemed successfully desensitized—they could tolerate up to four peanuts—compared with one-third of those with the placebo. The latter camp likely outgrew their allergies naturally, as sometimes happens.

"Amazingly, not only did it raise the amount of peanut [tolerance] in these children, but the nature of the reaction also changed," lead author Dr. Matthew Greenhawt of Children's Hospital Colorado tells NBC News. "There was a decrease in the number of severe reactions." Some caveats: Kids with the most severe allergies didn't participate in the trial for safety reasons, and the study lacked racial diversity, with most of the participants being white, notes the Washington Post. The patch tested is called Viaskin made by French pharmaceutical firm DBV Technologies, which says in a statement it hopes the results will help secure FDA approval in the US. The patch contained 250 micrograms of peanut protein, the equivalent of 1/1000th of a peanut. (More peanut allergy stories.)

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