Dr. Factor: Patients desensitized with small doses of peanuts; WTMTW – an ABC affiliate, CT, 2014

Center uses alternative technique to treat peanut allergies
Patients desensitized with small doses of peanuts WTMTW
UPDATED 5:00 PM EDT May 14, 2014,  By Tracy Sabol


PORTLAND, Maine —An allergy treatment center in Connecticut is trying a unique approach to treat people with peanut allergies, and a Maine mom says it has worked wonders for her daughter.

Laura Farraher’s daughter Elle has been battling a serious peanut allergy since she was 7 months old.

“You can’t go to a birthday party or on a flight or to a mall or a restaurant without being hyper vigilant,” said Farraher.

Farraher said there have been times when being vigilant wasn’t enough.

“She was licked by a dog that just moments before had eaten peanuts, and it just lapped her face, and her whole face blew up. It was swollen, hives everywhere. She was unrecognizable at about 3,” said Farraher.

It was a terrifying incident for Farraher and her daughter, which is why she decided to seek alternative treatments.

Farraher ended up taking her daughter to the New England Food Allergy Treatment Center in West Hartford, Connecticut. The center is the only one of its kind in the Northeast.

Dr. Jeffrey Factor is the center’s director, and he said they have treated more 400 patients by desensitizing them to the allergy. He said their success rate is 90 percent.

“We will actually give them very, very tiny amounts of peanuts to start out with, which they take orally every day, and we build that up over the course of several weeks and months. By doing so, they become desensitized to peanuts. In other words, less likely to react to peanut, if they would be accidentally exposed,” said Factor.

Not all allergists believe desensitization is a silver bullet treatment.

“There’s an uncertainty about whether permanent tolerance can be gained with peanut desensitization,” said Dr. Ivan Cardona, with Allergy and Asthma Associates of Maine.

Cardona said while he is excited about the potential of oral immunotherapy, he does not believe it is a one-size-fits-all solution.

“Some studies say 50 percent of people don’t have permanent tolerance, meaning they have to take a dose of peanut butter every day for a month, and if they decide not to eat peanut butter they could react,” said Cardona.

While Elle hasn’t been cured of her peanut allergy, Farraher said the therapy is providing extra protection.

“She’s not going to have a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, no. This is definitely just giving you the piece of mind that if she were to ever ingest it accidentally she is going to be OK,” said Farraher.

Read the whole story here: http://www.wmtw.com/health/center-uses-alternative-technique-to-treat-peanut-allergies/25976842


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