Asthma medications may prevent food allergy risks, study finds

A drug traditionally used to treat asthma may help protect people from the dangers, even deadly ones, associated with food allergies, according to a study published this Sunday in the New England Journal of Medicine.

In a randomized trial funded in part by the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, the drug Xolair (chemical name omalizumab) was tested in 118 children who were allergic to peanuts and at least one other food, such as milk or eggs.

A study conducted at 10 US medical centers found that after treatment, 67% of children were able to tolerate small amounts of peanut protein without any symptoms. Of another 59 minors who were given a placebo, only 7% were able to do so.

Earlier this month, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the drug for food allergies in adults and children one year of age and older. It was approved for the treatment of allergic asthma more than two decades ago.

However, scientists caution that the drug does not guarantee that allergy-prone people will let their guard down completely, and that they should continue to try to avoid known allergens.

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But, according to scientists, the drug should reduce dangerous reactions.

Xolair is injected every two to four weeks, which is not easy for those who don’t like needles.

But for people who have to live with the constant fear that unintentionally consuming an allergen could land them in hospital, the treatment could be “life-changing,” said Robert Wood, one of the study’s leaders and a member of the organization. Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

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Severe allergic reactions account for approximately 30,000 emergency room visits each year in the United States alone.


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