Peanut allergy: NHS England buys treatment that could help thousands of children

Thousands of children in England will benefit from life-changing peanut allergy treatment after health chiefs sign a deal for it.

NHS England has agreed to purchase the oral treatment, called Palforzia, which helps build tolerance to peanuts, thereby reducing the severity of symptoms, including anaphylaxis.

Peanut allergy, one of the most common food allergies in children, is estimated to affect up to 2% of the country’s 12 million children, or 240,000.

The prevalence of peanut allergy in children in Western countries has doubled in the past 10 years, according to Allergy UK.

Symptoms include hives, redness or swelling, itching around the mouth and throat, stomach cramps, nausea, vomiting, and tightness in the throat.

Nuts or their traces are found in a myriad of foods, from cereals to chocolate and cooking oil.

Children and young people aged 4 to 17 are expected to be the first in Europe to receive Palforzia, after the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice) recommended its use in the draft guidelines.

Sophie Pratt said her family’s life changed after her daughter Emily, nine, participated in the Palisade trial at Evelina London Children’s Hospital.

“Being part of the clinical trial has changed the lives of our whole family,” she said.

“The treatment we received allowed Emily to free herself from limitations and fear that even the slightest mistake would be life threatening, and it took away all the tension and worry that just eating weighed on us. every day.

“This was especially noticeable on special occasions like birthdays, Christmas and holidays where there are often special foods like cakes, ice cream and treats that invariably had warnings, ‘may contain peanuts’ or menus not in English.

“Since the trial, Emily can go to parties and play dates with confidence, eat at restaurants without us having to call ahead to check the menu, and we’ve managed to have her first vacation. abroad in New York and even participated in feeding animals to the zoo, which is Emily’s passion.

“We couldn’t be more grateful.”

Clinical trials have shown that, compared to placebo, Palforzia increases by at least half the proportion of children who can tolerate at least 1000 mg of peanut protein – about three nuts.

The treatment contains precise and gradually increasing amounts of peanut protein.

Up to 600 children are expected to be treated this year, and 2,000 per year thereafter.

George du Toit, Child Allergy Consultant at Evelina London, said: “This is great news for children and young people with peanut allergies.

“It will have a huge impact on the daily lives of our patients and their families.”

Gillian Leng, Executive Director of Nice, said: “A peanut allergy can have serious consequences on the lives of children, youth, their families and caregivers.

“Although it is rare for a peanut allergy to be fatal in the UK, the consequences of accidental exposure to peanuts can be serious, with some people needing to self-administer adrenaline and receive treatment. emergency if exposed to peanuts. “

NHS Medical Director Stephen Powis said: “It will reduce the fear and anxiety for patients and their families who may have been living with this allergy for years and carrying emergency medicine just in case.”

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