Written By: Nitya Goel
The topic of allergies is one that is (unfortunately) close to my heart. I have suffered from peanut allergies since I was born, as have millions of other children. For most people, this follows them throughout their whole life, with no permanent cure. Or so it may seem.
Researchers have been trying to develop long-term solutions to allergies for years but have struggled to create permanent fixes. Fortunately, there have been some recent breakthroughs in the field of Food Oral Immunotherapy.
What Is Oral Immunotherapy?
The concept of Oral Immunotherapy (OIT) is pretty simple; a physician will administer small amounts of the thing a patient is allergic to and slowly work their way up to larger and larger quantities. Through this process, which can take several months to a year, the patient will develop some immunity to the substance. The risk related to the allergen becomes significantly lower, and the patient can come in contact without immediately reacting.
Palforzia and Peanuts
An example of an OIT drug in use is Palforzia. This treatment was approved by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration(FDA) on January 31, 2020. It follows the basic principle of OIT; patients start with a small dose, slowly increase, and maintain immunity. For many children with peanut allergies, this treatment proves to be very effective in decreasing the likelihood of a bad reaction.
Is It Worth the Risk?
Although this seems very exciting, it is not a perfect solution. Even after going through the whole drug phase, patients are still expected to avoid peanuts and keep them out of their diet. The goal of the treatment is to reduce the risk of life-threatening reactions like anaphylaxis.
Now you may be wondering; Is it worth going through all of this? The answer depends on the severity of your allergy. For those who live in fear of coming in contact with nuts, the treatment is worth it. However, for those with less severe allergies like mine, it seems a little less enticing.
I look forward to seeing even more solutions discovered in the coming years. The prospect of an allergy-free world is fascinating to me, and I cannot wait to watch it happen.