Peanut allergies have long been cause for concern for those living with them. In their most severe form, these allergies can be life-threatening — and can create a sense of danger around any food that may have come into contact with peanuts. Recently, a new drug called Palforzia has shown promise in making allergic reactions to peanuts less severe.
A 2019 article in The New York Times noted that Palforzia works “to reduce the risk that an accidental exposure to small amounts of peanut will set off a life-threatening reaction.”
Now, Palforzia has made the leap beyond “promising drug in test situations” to something we might be seeing a lot more of. The Wall Street Journal reports that the FDA has approved it — offering a way for kids to build up their resistance to peanuts. From what the article describes, it sounds less like a one-time treatment and more of a constant process:
To build up their resistance, children ages 4 to 17 years who are prescribed the new therapy start with escalating doses of Palforzia mixed with apple sauce or other food each day, and after reaching a certain dose continue on that dose indefinitely.
Palforzia doesn’t sound cheap. In the Wall Street Journal article, writer Peter Loftus cites the list price for the drug as “$890 a month, or about $10,680 a year.” The fact that this is not a small number may well prompt a debate over who will actually have access to the drug going forward. But it’s also a bold step forward in treating something that has been a source of alarm for many.
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