Peanut allergy affects about 1 million children in the U.S. Unfortunately, there is still no cure. Allergic individuals must strictly avoid exposure to prevent potentially life threatening reactions. In reality, despite efforts of avoidance, inadvertent exposure can occur. Even exposure to trace amounts can results in symptoms of ranging from mild to life-threatening anaphylaxis.
On January 31st, the Food and Drug Administration approved Palforzia, a standardized oral immunotherapy (OIT) product for peanut allergy meant to help mitigate allergic reactions that may occur upon accidental ingestion. It is the first and thus far only FDA approved therapy for peanut allergy, and is approved for use in patients aged 4 to17 years old with a confirmed diagnosis of peanut allergy.
It is important to remember that Palforzia is not a cure for peanut allergy, but it is a therapy that can increase the threshold of peanut allergy reactions and decrease the frequency and severity of reactions. Those who take Palforzia must continue to avoid peanuts in their diets. The potential length of therapy with Palforzia is life long, and it is only going to be available through specially-certified healthcare providers, specialty pharmacies and to those patients who are enrolled in the REMS program, a program created by the FDA to ensure drug safety. It requires that the prescribers of Palforzia and the health care settings that dispense and administer it are educated on and able to treat the reactions, such as anaphylaxis, associated with its use.
At Coastal Allergy Care, we strive to safely provide the most up-to-date therapy for all our patients with food allergy. We are excited to finally be able to help our most severely peanut allergic patients by offering them the option of oral immunotherapy! Though FDA approved, Palforzia is not yet widely available nor on insurance formularies. CAC is evaluating the safest and most efficient way to initiate Palforzia to those in greatest need. Stay tuned!