Peanut allergies: Special toothpaste may help reduce reactions

Evan Walker
Evan Walker TheMediTary.Com |
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Experts say a toothpaste with peanut allergens might be a convenient way for people to deal with the condition. Eva Katalin/Getty Images
  • A new oral immunotherapy could help lessen the severity of allergic reactions to peanuts in those with an allergy.
  • Typical existing therapies involve exposing children at a young age before they demonstrate an allergy.
  • This new potential treatment puts low levels of peanut allergen in toothpaste, which appears to be well-tolerated among people with peanut allergies.

For adults with peanut allergies, lowering your risk of having an allergic reaction to the nut could someday be as simple as brushing your teeth, new research suggests.

Adults with peanut allergies who received oral immunotherapy in the form of a specially formulated toothpaste that contained tiny amounts of peanut allergens experienced no moderate or severe allergic reactions to an escalating dose of the allergen over the course of a 48-week trial, according to an abstract presented at the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI) 2023 Annual Scientific Meeting.

The findings haven’t been published yet in a peer-reviewed journal.

In their study, researchers evaluated immune responses to the allergens in the toothpaste by looking at blood biomarkers as well as conducting oral “food challenges” to gauge allergic responses under the observation of medical professionals.

Study participants who had reactions to the toothpaste experienced mild itchiness in the mouth, but it was not significant enough to make them drop out of the study, the researchers noted.

“We noted that 100 percent of those being treated with the toothpaste consistently tolerated the pre-specified protocol highest dose,” Dr. William Berger, a lead study author and a pediatric allergist at the Children’s Hospital of Orange County in California said in a press release. “No moderate nor severe systemic reactions occurred in active participants. Non-systemic adverse reactions were mostly local (oral itching), mild, and transient.”

This was a small study of 32 adults ages 18 to 55.

Nevertheless, the fact that side effects were mild and adherence was high (97%) suggests the safety and efficacy of this treatment bears further study, the study authors said.

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

“This is a good first step in seeing if OMIT works for patients with peanut allergy,” said Dr. Purvi Parikh, an allergist and spokesperson with the Allergy & Asthma Network who wasn’t involved in the study.

“We were able to see that the treatment is safe based on a small group of people. Now it needs to be tested on a larger scale to see if it works,” she told Medical News Today.

Oral immunotherapy for allergies has been successfully employed in helping babies and young children avoid certain food allergies.

For instance, babies fed peanuts between the ages of 4 months and 11 months are 70% less likely to develop peanut allergies than those not exposed to peanuts at that age, some studies show.

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