For years, doctors have treated allergies by introducing small amounts of the dangerous allergen over a period of time, which desensitizes the patient to keep them safe.
Now, a special toothpaste may soon be saving people with peanut allergies from having severe reactions.
The proposed product would contain tiny amounts of the nut to build patients’ immunity over time.
Every participant in the small trial tolerated the highest dose of the peanut toothpaste without any moderate or severe systemic reactions. Some experienced a little itch in the mouth but it was a mild and transient reaction, similar to that which occurs at an injection sites when doctors give shots.
Speaking at the annual scientific meeting of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI) in California, allergy expert Dr. William Berger described the process called Oral Mucosal Immunotherapy (OMIT).
“OMIT uses a specially formulated toothpaste to deliver allergenic peanut proteins to areas of the oral cavity.
“OMIT as a delivery mechanism for peanut protein has great potential for food allergy desensitization,” he said.
Due to its targeted delivery and simple administration, it can desensitize patients to peanuts without requiring dozens of visits to a clinic over a period of years.
“We noted that 100 percent of those being treated with the toothpaste consistently tolerated the pre-specified protocol highest dose.”
The study by ACAAI included 32 people with peanut allergies aged 18 to 55.
They used the toothpaste treatment and a placebo control in a ratio of three to one during the 48-week trial.
Participants brushed their teeth with an increasingly strong dose of peanut toothpaste, or a peanut-free product.
Safety was monitored throughout, as well as blood test to check how the person’s immune system is responding to an allergen.
There’s no word yet about when it might be ready for patients; they say more testing is needed.
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