based on a meta-analysis from more than 1,000 patients published in .
In the Peanut Allergen immunotherapy, Clarifying the Evidence (PACE) systematic review and meta-analysis,, of McMaster University, Hamilton, Ont., and colleagues reviewed 12 trials conducted between 2011 and 2018 with a total of 1,041 patients (median age, 9 years).
Overall, the risk of anaphylaxis was significantly higher among children who received oral immunotherapy, compared with no therapy (risk ratio, 3.12) as was anaphylaxis frequency (incidence rate ratio, 2.72) and use of epinephrine (RR, 2.21).
In addition, oral immunotherapy increased serious adverse events, compared with no therapy (RR, 1.92). Nonanaphylactic reactions also went up among oral immunotherapy patients, with increased risk for vomiting (RR, 1.79), angioedema (RR, 2.25), upper respiratory tract reactions (RR, 1.36), and lower respiratory tract infections (RR, 1.55).
Quality of life scores were not significantly different between patients who did and did not receive oral immunotherapy, the researchers noted.
The oral immunotherapy consisted of defatted, lightly roasted peanut flour in 10 studies, and a combination of peanut paste, peanut extract, or ground and defatted peanut in the other studies.
The oral immunotherapy did induce desensitization to peanuts in support of earlier studies including the subcutaneous immunotherapy trial, but “this outcome does not translate into achieving the clinical and patient-desired aim of less allergic reactions and anaphylaxis,” Dr. Chu and associates wrote.
However, “rather than take the view that these data denounce current research in oral immunotherapy as not successful, we instead suggest that this research has reached an important milestone in mechanistic but not clinical efficacy. From a clinical or biological perspective, the apparently paradoxical desensitization versus longitudinal clinical findings show the lability and unreliability of allergen thresholds identified during oral food challenges because patients often unpredictably reacted to previously tolerated doses outside of clinic,” they emphasized.
The findings were limited by several factors including the small sample size, compared with similar studies for asthma or cardiovascular conditions, and by incomplete or inconsistent data reporting, the researchers noted. However, the results are the most comprehensive to date, and support the need for food allergy treatments with better safety profiles, using peanut allergy immunotherapy as a model for other food allergies.
Dr. Chu and two other authors reported being investigators on a federally funded ongoing peanut oral immunotherapy trial. Two authors reported receiving a variety of grants from organizations such as the National Institutes of Health; the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, & Immunology; or pharmaceutical companies.
SOURCE: Chu DK et al.