Peanut allergy is considered the most common food allergy in children. As stated by recent research, allergy drops are safe and effective for treating peanut allergy, even for children as young as 1.

In this trial, 36 children participated whose ages are between 1-4 years were allergic to peanuts.

They were randomly allocated to take peanut immunotherapy drops which showed important desensitization to peanuts after the 3-year trial and compared with kids who received a placebo.

The New Study Discovers Peanut Allergy Drops Are Safe to Toddlers

Additionally, after the trial, the toddlers received active treatment, reported researchers.

The study was presented at the 2021 American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology virtual yearly conference. 

The children received allergy drops and orally-given immunotherapies to treat allergies, but normally not supplied to children as young as toddlers.

The study lead-author Edwin H. Kim, MD who is also a director of the UNC Food Allergy Initiative at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine in Chapel Hill stated in an interview with Medscape, “We have learned from some studies … that strongly suggest that the immune systems in younger patients may be more amenable to change, and there may be some justification for early intervention.”

He further added, “Based on both of those ideas, we wanted to take our … approach, which we have shown to have a pretty good efficacy in older children, and bring it down to this younger group and see if it still could have the same efficacy and also maintain what seems to be a very good safety signal.”

The previous year, the FDA Palforzia is a peanut allergen powder used to treat children aged 4 or older who were allergic to peanuts. Kim stated, “It is a great option, but I think what we have learned over time is that this approach is not for everybody.”

The Palforzia is a powder made of peanuts mixed with yogurt or pudding that children could regularly consume, as described in the rigorous schedule. But Palforzia treatment displayed a few difficulties. It must be mixed with food items such as applesauce or pudding. Then, kids must consume it which can be difficult with some children.

Kim said” It tastes and smells like peanut, which can cause aversion. Kids have to refrain from exercise or strenuous activity for at least 30 minutes before and after dosing and have to be observed for up to 2 hours post-dose for symptoms.”

Kim further explained, “It’s a great drug, but the treatment could be overly difficult for certain families to be able to do, and in some cases the side effects may be more than certain patients are able or willing to handle, so there is a real urgent need for alternative approaches.”

“Sublingual immunotherapy is several drops under the tongue, held for 2 minutes, swallowed and done.”

In the new research, Director Kim and his collaborators examined the feasibility, safety of sublingual immunotherapy, and efficacy with allergy drops for kids aged 4 years and younger who have a peanut allergy.

Both groups were similar concerning gender, ethnicity, race and all kids were previously allergic to skin tests, positive blood, and a positive reaction throughout the baseline food trial.

The scientists randomly assigned the children to get placebo drops for three years. 50 children participated in the study and 36 completed the experiment.

As a result of the 3-year research time, the kid’s allergies were examined with up to 4,333 mg of peanut protein. 

These children were examined again 3 months after completing the therapy to find if they were still allergic to peanut protein.

14 children consuming allergic drops, and nobody received the placebo and passed the food allergy test at the end of the trial. 12 children taking allergy drops and 2 of the children who are receiving placebo passed the test three months later.

In addition, kids who received allergy drops noticed an improvement in the allergy skin prick test.

“It took a lot of work from the parents as well as from our research coordinators in trying to train these young kids to, first of all, allow us to put the peanut medication in the mouth and then to try as best as possible to keep it in their mouth for up to 2 minutes, but the families involved in our study were very dedicated and so we were able to get through that,” Dr. Kim concluded.