Researchers develop special toothpaste for peanut allergy

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Researchers develop special toothpaste for peanut allergy treatment

Researchers have recently developed a toothpaste that may lower the risk of allergic reactions in adults with peanut allergy. (Image:

ANAHEIM, Calif., US: Oral immunotherapy for peanut allergy entails giving people small amounts of peanuts over time to desensitise them to the legume, thus ensuring a milder reaction to peanuts in the future. Now, researchers have developed a special toothpaste that can effectively deliver allergenic proteins to immunologically active areas of the oral cavity. The new approach offers a safe and convenient alternative to allergy immunotherapy for individuals with food allergies.

Peanut allergy is one of the most common food allergies in the world and is especially common in children. It leads to emergency department admissions and even fatal allergic reactions, and the prevalence of peanut allergy is increasing. Its management mostly involves avoiding the allergen altogether and following an emergency action plan in the event of accidental exposure to peanuts resulting in an adverse reaction.

Although certain food allergies, such as allergies to eggs or milk, improve over time, peanut allergy is difficult to outgrow and is often lifelong. However, thanks to peanut oral immunotherapy, it is possible to build a tolerance to peanuts in children.

Seeking to improve the lives of people with peanut allergy, researchers have developed a novel desensitisation method that does not require patients to actually ingest peanuts. “Oral mucosal immunotherapy (OMIT) uses a specially formulated toothpaste to deliver allergenic peanut proteins to areas of the oral cavity,” Dr William E. Berger, who led the research and is a board-certified paediatric allergist at Children’s Hospital of Orange County in the US, said in a press release. “OMIT as a delivery mechanism for peanut protein has great potential for food allergy desensitisation. Due to its targeted delivery and simple administration, it supports the goal of improved adherence,” he added.

The study enrolled 32 adults with peanut allergies aged between 18 and 55, who received either an increasing dose of peanut toothpaste or a placebo. The participants were then observed over 48 weeks.

“We noted that 100% of those being treated with the toothpaste consistently tolerated the pre-specified protocol highest dose,” Dr Berger stated. “No moderate nor severe systemic reactions occurred in active participants. Non-systemic adverse reactions were mostly local (oral itching), mild and transient. There was 97% adherence to treatment with no dropouts due to study medication.”

The researchers now plan to carry out additional long-term studies to further evaluate the use of the toothpaste therapy to provide long-term protection against accidental ingestion of peanuts.

“OMIT appears to be a safe and convenient option for adults with food allergies. The results support continued development of this toothpaste in the paediatric population,” Dr Berger concluded.

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