Early Exposure of Peanuts to Reduce Risk of Peanut Allergy

Christopher Ling, Mercer University College of Pharmacy

Peanut allergy is one of the most common food allergies, and is represented as nearly a quarter of all allergies in children. It is suggested the allergy is least likely to be outgrown, and is associated with more severe reactions in children. [1] Due to the prevalence and severity of reaction, some recommend introducing peanut-containing products as early as four months old in those at risk of developing a peanut allergy. Moreover, if the infant has severe eczema, egg allergy, or both, specific immunoglobulin E (sIgE) measurements, skin prick test (SPT), and/or oral food challenge (OFC) are recommended before the exposure. [2] This recommendation is based on the Learning Early About Peanut Allergy (LEAP) trial results that show higher risk of peanut allergy in infants with severe eczema and/or egg allergy. [3]

In a study analyzing the data from the LEAP trial, children that consumed peanut products early had less prevalence of a peanut allergy than those that avoided peanut products in both SPT negative (1.9% vs. 13.7%; p< 0.001)  and SPT positive (10.6% vs. 35.3%; p= 0.004) groups. [4] The same authors then did a follow up study (LEAP-ON) consisting of all the eligible patients from the LEAP trial. A summary of the study is provided below. [5]

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