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    Study: Wearable patch may minimize peanut allergy

    Children saw greatest effect of treatment

    A wearable skin patch (Viaskin, DBV Technologies) may help treat peanut allergy, specifically in children and young adults, according to one-year results of an ongoing trial sponsored by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) and conducted by the NIAID-funded Consortium of Food Allergy Research(CoFAR).

    While the daily patch does not cure patients of their allergy, it did increase each study participant’s ability to tolerate at least 10 times more peanut protein than before starting the treatment. The experimental approach, called epicutaneous immunotherapy (EPIT) trains the immune system to tolerate enough peanut protein to withstand accidental exposure or ingestion.

    Researchers at five study sites randomly assigned 74 volunteers with a peanut allergy to receive high-dose (250 micrograms peanut protein), low-dose (100 micrograms peanut protein) or a placebo patch. The volunteers ranged in age from 4 to 25 years and the severity of their allergies was assessed at the beginning of the study with supervised consumption of peanut-containing food.    

    One year into the study, researchers found that 46% of patients given the low-dose treatment and 48% of the patients given the high-dose patch achieved treatment success, compared to 12% of the placebo group. Investigators also noted that participants between 4 and 11 years old saw the greatest treatment effects and participants over 12 years old saw significantly less effect.

    After the first year of the study, all participants were given the higher-dose daily patches and will continue in the study for another year and a half. Researchers note, however, that additional studies in larger groups of children are required before the patches could be approved for wider use.

    None of the participants reported serious reactions to the patch, though most did have a mild skin reaction at the site of the patch.

    Ben Schwartz
    Ben Schwartz is Associate Editor, Contemporary OB/GYN.

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