FDA Approves Medicine To Lessen Food Allergy Reactions

February 20, 2024

While it will not eliminate food allergies or allow patients to consume food allergens freely, its repeated use will help reduce the health impact if accidental exposure occurs.

Dr. Kelly Stone, who works in the Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, referring to an asthma drug recently approved by the FDA to help decrease severe food allergy reactions.

Why It Matters: In the United States, around 1 in 16 adults have a food allergy, according to 2021 data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. While there is no cure for food allergies at this time, the FDA green-lit Xolair, a drug taken by injection that a National Institute of Health-funded study found can help minimize severe allergic reactions caused by exposure to small amounts of foods such as peanuts, eggs, and milk. While Xoliar has already been approved by the FDA to treat certain cases of asthma and other conditions, this news marks the first time a medication has been approved by the FDA to help reduce severe reactions caused by accidental exposure to food allergens.

Big Picture: The FDA notes the medication is not intended to be used as an immediate emergency treatment of allergic reactions,” rather it can be taken every few weeks in order to help minimize the risk of reactions in certain children and adults (ages 1 and older) that could occur if they are accidentally exposed to food allergens. The FDA says people taking Xoliar “must continue to avoid foods they are allergic to.” The cost of Xolair ranges from $2,900 per month for kids and around $5,000 per month for adults, though the out-of-pocket cost can typically be decreased using insurance, according to the company that distributes the medication.

Read More: FDA expands use of asthma drug Xolair to treat severe food allergies (The Associated Press)

FDA approves a drug to treat severe food allergies, including milk, eggs and nuts (NPR)

by Emily Hooker, based in Texas