Peanut allergy immunotherapy pills do NOT cure patients, but can protect them against potentially life-threatening reactions, scientists say
- Scientists in London examined how immunotherapy pills affected patients' allergies
- Found that she reduced the sensitivity to nuts, but could not fully cure the condition
- The pills are full of minuscule amounts of peanut to make the body insensitive
Immunotherapy pills can protect some patients with peanut allergy against fatal reactions, but they cannot cure the condition, a study has shown.
Scientists were able to reduce patients' sensitivity to the nut, but were unable to completely eliminate the allergy.
The pills are full of minuscule amounts of peanut to train the body in producing antibodies to combat the allergen.
Scientists may have come closer to a treatment that prevents peanut allergies (stock)
This is quickly absorbed into the bloodstream, where it works to make the immune system insensitive to larger amounts of the nut.
King & # 39; s College London researchers took samples from 22 peanut allergy patients aged four to 18 years as part of their study.
When they removed the protective antibodies, they discovered that the allergic cells were still just as reactive as before the treatment.
But they did notice that the pills provided sufficient protection to save at least one in every 50 British from death.
WHAT IS A PINDA ALLERGY? AND HOW COMMON IS IT?
According to US clinical guidelines, parents are advised to introduce peanuts into a baby's diet after just four to six months.
In the UK, parents are advised to give children from about six months of crushed peanuts if there is no history of family allergies.
Peanut allergies in children have tripled since 1997, according to a study by the Jaffe Food Allergy Institute at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York last year. About one in 100 people in the UK and the US has a peanut allergy.
The allergy occurs when the immune system mistakenly treats three types of peanut protein (Ara h1, Ara h2 and Ara h3) when it comes into contact with it.
Their body then releases chemicals to destroy what it regards as a dangerous intruder. This flow of chemicals causes symptoms of an allergic reaction, often within a few seconds.
These range from an itchy mouth to anaphylactic shock, where the airways become narrow, blood pressure plummet and organs begin to close.
Patients who have had severe reactions usually wear an EpiPen device to give themselves an adrenaline injection if a different reaction occurs.
This opens the airways and dilates blood vessels to raise blood pressure again.
The findings reinforce the theory that while immunotherapy pills may offer some protection, they do not cure & # 39; the allergies.
Immunotherapy is the only treatment option that peanut allergy patients are offered. However, most undergo clinical trials because it is not yet available on the NHS.
It can be supplied in pill form, dissolved under the tongue or applied to the skin as a plaster.
Main author, Dr. Alexandra Santos, of King's College London and Evelina London Children's Hospital, said: "Peanut-oral immunotherapy may provide some protection against unintended peanut exposure due to the so-called" blocking antibodies "and demonstrated by the reduction in the response of allergic cells after treatment.
& # 39; But if we remove these blocking antibodies, we could see that the cells are still as reactive as before, confirming that the patients were still allergic and had to continue with the POIT (immunotherapy treatment) regimen to protect to retain. & # 39;
Peanut allergy is a potentially life-threatening condition, with rates doubled in the last two decades. It now affects around one in 50 children in the UK.
The condition has rarely outgrown and is the most common cause of food allergy deaths. There is currently no cure.
Only 100 mg of peanut protein can cause a serious reaction. A single peanut kernel contains approximately 300 mg of the protein.
Reactions usually cause symptoms such as sneezing, itchy eyes and hives. In rare cases they can cause anaphylaxis.
This can be fatal, with symptoms such as swelling of the throat, respiratory problems and loss of consciousness.
WHAT IS ANAPHYLACTIC SHOCK?
Anaphylaxis, also known as anaphylactic shock, can kill within minutes.
It is a serious and potentially life-threatening response to a trigger, such as an allergy.
The reaction can often be caused by certain foods, including peanuts and shellfish.
However, some drugs, bee stings and even latex used in condoms can also cause the life-threatening reaction.
According to the NHS, it happens when the immune system reacts too strongly to a trigger.
Symptoms include: light-headedness or fainting; breathing difficulties – such as fast, superficial breathing; wheezing; a fast heartbeat; damp skin; confusion and fear and collapse or lose consciousness.
It is considered a medical emergency and requires immediate treatment.
Insect stings are not dangerous for most victims, but a person does not necessarily have to have an already existing condition to be in danger.
An increasing accumulation of stitches can cause a person to develop an allergy, with a subsequent sting causing the anaphylactic reaction.
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