A New Customised Desensitization Treatment for Peanut Allergic Patient
Peanut is one of the most common foods causing fatal or near fatal allergic reactions. In order to explore a safe desensitization treatment for peanut allergy, the Allergy Centre of Hong Kong Sanatorium & Hospital (HKSH) launched the first-in-Hong Kong pilot study on peanut desensitization in February 2013 by combining the usage of anti-IgE (the drug that reduces allergic reactions) and oral desensitization. Four patients aged eight to twelve years with moderate to severe peanut allergy participated. After 6 months, the patients could eat 9 peanuts or equivalent amount of peanut flour daily, and 11 to 20 peanuts or equivalent amount of peanut flour at a food challenge. The pioneering desensitization protocol brings hope to patients suffering from peanut allergy.
Pui-chi, 9 year-old girl, has suffered from peanut allergy since she was a baby girl. Her parents discovered that she developed a sore throat and swollen lips after drinking peanut-containing soup when she was around 1 year-old. Since that time whenever Pui-chi eats peanut-containing food accidentally she always has swollen lips with blisters as well as shortness of breath; and her throat would ache and itch. This affects the whole family’s daily life as they have to carry emergency medication with them all the time, and be exceptionally vigilant to avoid all peanut-containing foods. “My classmates sometimes give me candies but I cannot eat them because I do not know if they contain peanuts or not. It upset me in the past. However, I am very happy that I will be able to eat candies, ice-cream and snacks that contain peanut now. I will recommend friends to have the treatment if they also have peanut allergy.”
Pui-chi joined the research in February 2013. Her tolerance to peanut was less than 1 peanut at the beginning but she is now able to eat at least 9 peanuts daily after the treatment. Her parents are very satisfied with the outcome and feel relieved when dining out.
Allergy Centre has started a research study on histamine intolerance. The goal is to compare the therapeutic effect of two different diets in relieving symptoms in patients with chronic urticaria, angioedema, and/or pruritus.