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First drug to reduce allergic reactions in people with food allergies approved by FDA

FDA approves drug to help treat people with food allergies
FDA approves drug to help treat people with food allergies 01:17

BOSTON - The FDA has approved the first and only medication that reduces allergic reactions in people with food allergies.

More than 17 million children and adults in the U.S. have the most common type of food allergy that causes the rapid onset of symptoms, sometimes life-threatening. Parents of young children, in particular, live in fear of accidental exposure at, for example, birthday parties and playdates.

But Xolair, a monoclonal antibody injected under the skin at least once a month, which has already been approved to treat asthma, has been shown to reduce the risk of severe reaction. 

A study sponsored by the NIH showed patients with food allergies, as young as one year, who were treated with Xolair were significantly more likely to tolerate small amounts of peanut, milk, egg, and cashew without an allergic reaction compared to those on a placebo. 

Patients still need to avoid their trigger foods, and the treatment, which can eventually be administered at home, needs to be continued indefinitely, but it can provide some additional comfort to both patients and their families. 

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