New help for peanut allergies

Breakthrough therapy holds potential


When it comes to anaphylaxis episodes leading to pediatric intensive care–unit stays, peanuts are the most common culprit. Now the results of a recent clinical trial may lead to approval of the first oral medication to ameliorate reactions in children with severe peanut allergies.

peanuts copyright mates/

After 6 months of treatment and 6 months of maintenance therapy, two-thirds of the 372 children who received this treatment could ingest the equivalent of two peanuts without allergic symptoms. Just 4% of the 124 children given a placebo powder were able to consume that amount of peanut without reacting. The treatment was not effective for the small number of adults in the study.

This trial of the drug, called AR101 and developed by Aimmune Therapeutics, was published in Nov. 2018 in the New England Journal of Medicine. The company has submitted a biologics license application to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and because the drug has been designated a breakthrough therapy, it will go through an accelerated approval process. It could be on the market by the end of 2019.


1. Rabin RC. New Peanut Allergy Drug Shows ‘Lifesaving’ Potential. New York Times. Nov. 18, 2018. Accessed Nov. 26, 2018.

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