How asthma medication could help treat children with food allergies: Study

Early data from an ongoing clinical trial suggests an injectable asthma drug may help prevent food-related allergic reactions in children.

If studies continue to show promising results, experts hope the injection could eventually gain FDA approval as an allergy treatment for children.

Last week, pharmaceutical developers Genentech and Novartis announced that the FDA is prioritizing review of its application for use of the allergy-induced asthma drug omalizumab in cases of accidental exposure to foods such as peanuts, eggs or milk.

The small study, which needs more research before potential FDA approval, combined with prior research points to the possibility that alternative use of the drug marketed as Xolair could potentially help prevent allergic reactions in those with People who have multiple food allergies, especially anaphylaxis.

The federally funded trial, supported by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, is scheduled to end in 2026.

In this undated stock photo, peanuts are shown on a wooden tray.

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“Despite the significant and growing health burden from food allergies, treatment progress has been limited,” Dr. Levi Garraway, Genentech’s chief medical officer and head of global product development, said in the press release. “We are proud to partner with the National Institutes of Health and leading research institutions on this groundbreaking study. The FDA’s Priority Review designation recognizes the unmet need of these patients, and we hope that Exolair will help more people living with food.” Allergies in America”

Data from the trial, which involved 165 children and adolescents—whose severity of reactions such as hives or anaphylaxis was not taken into account—showed that those who received Exolair were more effective without triggering an allergic reaction. Were able to eat foods comparable to those to which they had sensitivities. Participants who received a placebo.

Although early data shows the potential of this drug in this off-label application, there is not yet enough evidence to determine how large its effect might be for people with food allergies.

A Genentech spokesperson told ABC News that the FDA is expected to make a decision on approval in the first quarter of 2024. And if approved, Xolair would be the first drug to reduce allergies caused by multiple foods following accidental exposure.

Dr. Larry Tsai, VP and global head of respiratory, allergy and infectious disease product development at Genentech, explained to “Good Morning America” ​​that because food allergies are so close to home, this study is a step in the right direction for treatment. seems to be. Option.

“Although I am a physician, I am also the parent of a child with severe food allergies,” he said in an email statement. “I am well aware of the constant worry and fear that my child will have accidental exposure at school or at a friend’s house. For the approximately 17 million children who live with food allergies, the current standard of care treatment is that children This includes avoiding foods they are allergic to, and learning to recognize and treat symptoms when exposed to an allergen.

Despite careful monitoring, they said that “preventing accidental exposure is difficult and there is a significant need for new treatment options for children with food allergies.”

“The positive results of the OUTMatch study bring us one step closer to providing a new treatment option for children and adults affected by food allergies,” Dr. Tsai, who herself has food allergies, added.

An update on the trial on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website does not list how much of the food participants were able to consume without having an allergic reaction.

The drug, marketed as Xolair, has been on the market since 2003 and helps treat chronic rhinosinusitis – an inflammatory sinus disease – along with chronic hives as well as nasal polyps.

People who take Xolair for allergic asthma usually take the drug for about 10 months and while the price varies depending on the indication and dosage, the cost is about $3,663 per month. This price varies depending on the frequency as well as the person’s weight and their serum IgE levels.

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