Eating few peanuts after completing oral immunotherapy (OIT) or sublingual immunotherapy (SLIT) for peanut allergy may provide continued protection against accidental exposures to the allergen, says a latest study which was presented the annual American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (AAAAI) conference in San Francisco. Conducted by a group of researchers led by Edwin Kim, the study followed 55 people who completed OIT or SLIT peanut immunotherapy trials at UNC-Chapel Hill and were desensitised to between 300mg and 5,000mg of peanuts.
It is interesting to note that desensitisation increases the amount of peanut it takes to cause an allergic reaction, decreasing the likelihood of a severe reaction caused by accidental peanut exposure. Speaking about it, Kim said, "They don't necessarily want to eat large amounts of their allergen, they just want a level of reassurance that if a restaurant cook makes a mistake or a food label is wrong, they won't have a severe allergic reaction."
After the participants completed their immunotherapy trial, they were encouraged to introduce foods containing peanuts into their diets with a goal of about 300 mg of peanut each day. They were also asked how much they ate, how often they ate it and how they felt afterward for follow-up.
A great number of participants continued to eat peanuts daily for up to eight years after completing immunotherapy.
Among those still eating peanuts, the median amount of daily consumption was 600 mg. No reactions from accidental ingestions were reported for the 55 participants, but ten people reported allergic reactions to the daily peanut foods they introduced into their diet.
Scientists said that majority of reactions happened to be mild and were easily treated with antihistamines. But three reactions required epinephrine and two required EMS. Although these significant reactions were not so frequent, one must not forget to seek expert opinion on the amount of peanuts that you can take.
The study was observational in nature. More longitudinal studies were required to make concrete conclusions, but researchers are hopeful that these findings could be used to study other types of food allergies too.
(With inputs ANI)