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New Therapy Could Defend Against Peanut Allergies


An immune therapy involving liquid drops under the tongue could soon protect people allergic to peanuts.

The treatment is called sublingual immunotherapy, or SLIT, which is similar to another treatment that builds an allergy tolerance to people by exposing them to small daily doses of the allergen. SLIT treatment would not require asking people to swallow anything.

Because it is administered under the tongue, smaller doses can be given instead of through oral treatment. SLIT also was shown as producing fewer side effects, including mouth itch. Patients are expected to have a 2-hour rest period after taking the treatment. But if a sublingual dose is needed, it just needs to be held under the tongue for two minutes before being able to move on with your day.

As promising as it seems, it needs to undergo a larger case study. In the smaller study that was completed, children between the ages of 1 to 11 received the treatment every day that increased gradually over a year until reaching two milligrams a day for up to four more years. The results showed that kids were able to eat varying degrees of peanut protein with no effects. Childen were still able to tolerate it even after the treatment stopped.

SLIT is currently approved by the FDA to be used in tablet form to treat pollen, ragweed, and dust mites, but the sublingual approach has not yet been approved for food allergies in the United States. It is expected that after a larger trial, it will be approved.

This may not allow people to eat peanut butter and jelly, but it should help to save lives and prevent any problems from cross-contamination and accidental ingestion.