Palforzia contains precise and gradually increasing amounts of peanut protein. It works by gradually increasing the body’s ability to tolerate small amounts of peanut and can help reduce the severity of allergic reactions after being exposed to peanut.
In technology appraisal guidance NICE has recommended the treatment as an option for treating peanut allergy in children aged 4 to 17, in conjunction with a peanut-avoidant diet. It can be continued in people who turn 18 while on treatment.
Professor Gillian Leng, chief executive at NICE said: 'An allergy to peanuts can have a severe impact on the lives of children, young people and their families and carers. While it is rare for a peanut allergy to be fatal in the UK, the consequences of accidental exposure to peanuts can be severe, with some people needing to self-administer adrenaline and have emergency care if they are exposed to peanut.
'I am pleased that we’re able to recommend a treatment that could improve the quality of life for children and young people with a peanut allergy and their carers. It will also help to give their families or carers additional confidence their child will not have a severe reaction if they are exposed to peanut.'
Clinical trials showed that when compared with a placebo, Palforzia increased the proportion of people aged between 4 and 17 who could tolerate at least 1g peanut protein (equivalent to approximately 3 peanuts) by over 50%.
When people start taking Palforzia, they will need to attend a clinic which is able to treat anaphylaxis. If successful, people will then be able to up their dosing but will still need to attend a clinic each time the dose is raised.
People are likely to need to take Palforzia or regularly include peanuts in their diet to maintain the tolerance they gain. It is uncertain how long people would continue treatment, but few are likely to need to continue Palforzia for the rest of their lives, said NICE.
Peanut allergy is one of the most common food allergies in children and is estimated to affect between 0.5% and 2% of children in the UK.