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Skin Patch to Treat Peanut Allergy Appears Promising

Delivering small amounts of peanut protein boosted tolerance for about half of young patients in study

skin patch

FRIDAY, Oct. 28, 2016 (HealthDay News) -- A skin patch that delivers small amounts of peanut protein may help treat children and young adults with peanut allergy, according to a study published online Oct. 26 in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.

Marshall Plaut, M.D., chief of the food allergy, atopic dermatitis, and allergic mechanisms section at the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and colleagues worked with 74 children and young adults, aged 4 to 25, who were allergic to peanuts. The volunteers were randomly assigned to wear either a high-dose patch (250 micrograms), a low-dose patch (100 micrograms), or a placebo patch. Participants put a new patch on daily, applying it to their arm or between their shoulder blades.

At the one-year mark, the researchers evaluated whether the participants were able to consume at least 10 times more peanut protein than they could at the study start, under supervision during the allergy challenge. After a year, 46 percent of the low-dose group and 48 percent of the high-dose group could do that, but only 12 percent of those on the placebo patch could. Children aged 4 to 11 had the best response. The patch had less effect on those aged 12 and older.

No serious reactions to the patch were reported, Plaut told HealthDay. Most did report mild skin reactions, including itching or rash at the site of the patch. Plaut described the effectiveness of the patch as modest, but added that the effects may increase as the children and young adults keep using it. Using it for a couple of years is "probably optimal," he said. While the effectiveness of oral therapy is typically higher, he said, there is also a higher rate of adverse side effects.

DBV Technologies, the developer of the skin patch used in the study, partially funded the study.

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