Special toothpaste may lower risk of allergic reactions for adults with peanut allergy

oral immunotherapy for peanut allergy
Photo: claudiodivizia 123rf

US researchers have demonstrated that a specially formulated toothpaste can be successfully used for oral mucosal immunotherapy (OMIT).

Oral immunotherapy for peanut allergy—introducing small amounts of peanut over a period of time to cause less of a reaction if the person eats something with peanuts—has been used by allergists for years to help desensitise those with peanut allergy.

An abstract by the team was presented at the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI) Annual Scientific Meeting in Anaheim, California.

“OMIT uses a specially formulated toothpaste to deliver allergenic peanut proteins to areas of the oral cavity,” lead author William Berger said.

“OMIT as a delivery mechanism for peanut protein has great potential for food allergy desensitisation. Due to its targeted delivery and simple administration, it supports the goal of improved adherence.”

The study enrolled 32 adults, age 18–55, with peanut allergy in a 3:1 ratio to receive either an escalating dose of INT301 or placebo. 

During this 48-week trial, safety was monitored during the up-dosing and maintenance phases. Exploratory biomarkers were also evaluated, and oral food challenges were conducted. (Exploratory biomarkers are blood tests used to show if a person’s immune system is responding to treatment with an allergen such as peanut.)

“We noted that 100 per cent of those being treated with the toothpaste consistently tolerated the pre-specified protocol highest dose,” Dr Berger said. 

“No moderate or severe systemic reactions occurred in active participants. Non-systemic adverse reactions were mostly local (oral itching), mild, and transient. There was 97 per cent adherence to treatment with no dropouts due to study medication. 

“OMIT appears to be a safe and convenient option for adults with food allergies. The results support continued development of this toothpaste in the pediatric population,” Dr Berger added.

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