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Medicines used for asthma may also be effective in preventing food allergies.

A breakthrough in the fight against food allergies. A study published Sunday in the New England Journal of Medicine shows that Xolair, a drug already known and used to treat asthma, is effective in preventing allergic reactions associated with certain foods. The American Drug Agency (FDA) on February 16 approved this treatment for this specific use and for adults and children over one year of age.

Patients who participated in the study and benefited from the treatment, namely 177 children aged 1 to 17 years with allergies, were able to see a significant increase in their tolerance to foods such as peanuts, tree nuts, eggs, milk and wheat.

These results suggest that such treatments “can significantly reduce the occurrence of allergic reactions to certain foods following incidental exposure,” said Robert Wood, the study’s lead author, in a press release published by Rock. The Swiss pharmaceutical giant owns the FDA-cleared Genentech laboratory in California and distributes Xolair in the US with Novartis.

Regular injections over several weeks.

Omalizumab, scientific name Xolara, is a monoclonal antibody that blocks the action of antibodies that cause allergic reactions. For example, at the end of a period of 16 to 20 weeks of regular injections, 67% of patients who actually received omalizumab tolerated a 600 mg peanut dose, compared with only 7% of patients who received placebo. This is a study funded by the US Department of Health.

If these results are encouraging, they should not suggest that beneficiaries can resume consuming allergens, insists the FDA, whose goal is only to reduce reactions in the event of accidental ingestion. Xolair is considered safe, with the main side effects being fever and injection site reactions, she notes. Xolair, approved in 2003 for the treatment of asthma, has since also been approved for the treatment of chronic spontaneous urticaria.

The discovery comes at a time when food allergies are a growing concern in the country. In the United States, they affect about 2% of adults and “4 to 8%” of children, you can read on the website of the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC). Food allergies are responsible for about 30,000 emergency room visits and 150 deaths each year in the country, according to authorities.

Source: Le Parisien

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