Where you give and where you crack: medicine dedicated to asthma, effective for allergies

English Section / 28 februarie

Where you give and where you crack: medicine dedicated to asthma, effective for allergies

Versiunea în limba română

There are also happy "accidents" in the pharmaceutical field. Combinations of substances dedicated to the treatment of one condition also prove effective for others. A drug already known and used to treat asthma, called Xolair, proved effective in preventing allergic reactions associated with several foods, a study revealed. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorized the treatment on February 16, with this specific use, for adults and children over one year of age, in a context where food allergies are an increasing reason for concern in this country. In the patients involved in the study, who benefited from this treatment, all allergic children, a significant increase in tolerance to food products such as peanuts, nuts, eggs, milk and wheat was found, according to the New England Journal of Medicine. These results demonstrate that such a treatment "can significantly reduce the occurrence of allergic reactions to several foods in case of accidental exposure", said Robert Wood, the lead author of the study, quoted in a statement issued by Roche. The Swiss pharmaceutical giant owns the Californian laboratory Genentech, which received FDA approval and distributes Xolair together with Novartis in the United States. Omalizumab, the scientific name of Xolair, is a monoclonal antibody capable of blocking the action of antibodies responsible for allergic reactions. After a period of regular injections for 16 to 20 weeks, 67% of patients given omalizumab tolerated, for example, a 600 mg dose of peanuts, compared with only 7% of patients given a placebo. The study, funded by the US Department of Health, involved approximately 177 children between the ages of 1 and 17. Although these results are encouraging, they should not lead patients to believe that they can resume the consumption of allergens, the FDA insisted, as the goal is only to reduce the allergic reaction in case of accidental ingestion. Xolair is considered safe, with the main side effects associated with it being fever and an injection site reaction, the FDA noted. Approved in 2003 against asthma, Xolair has since been approved for the treatment of chronic spontaneous urticaria. "Food allergies are a topic of increasing concern for food safety and public health" in the United States, states the CDC website.

These allergies affect about 2% of adults and "between 4 and 8%" of children in the United States. According to US authorities, food allergies are responsible for approximately 30,000 emergency room visits and 150 deaths each year in this country.

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