A New Drug For Food Allergies

Read about an asthma medication that could help those with food allergies.


Asher Huner, Research Committee Co-Chair

4/2/20243 min read


Understanding the Impact of Food Allergies  

         Food allergies can be a source of great fear and anxiety for those who suffer from them. The potential for accidental exposure to food triggers is ever-present, making it challenging to navigate everyday situations like dining out at restaurants or visiting friends' homes. In the United States alone, approximately 17 million people have the type of food allergy that can lead to rapid and severe symptoms, including the risk of death. Being able to reduce the reaction is life changing.

What is Xolair?

There is a medication that is used for people living with asthma, Xolair, that is now being used to help in reducing allergic reactions caused by accidental triggers. While people living with food allergies must still avoid the foods they are allergic to, the medication allows them to tolerate higher amount of foods that cause the reaction. Xolair may be used in patients as young as 1 year old and can take the drug by injection every two to four weeks. Physicians are excited about the drug which some believe will be life changing for people living with allergies. 

Xolair: A Promising Treatment

          FDA approved the drug after a study showed that Xolair allowed 68% of participants with peanut allergies to tolerate about 600 milligrams or about ½ a teaspoon of peanut protein, compared with about 6% of those who received dummy injections. The results of the study were similar for other allergens such as egg, wheat, tree nuts and milk. Xolair is a monoclonal antibody that works by blocking the body’s natural response to allergens. The drug binds to immunoglobulin E (IgE) the antibody type that triggers allergic reactions and blocks IgE from binding to its receptors which is what triggers the reaction. The most common type of side effects of Xolair are injection site reactions and fever. The medication is not approved for emergency treatment of the allergic reaction, it is meant for the reduction of allergic reactions and reducing the risk of anaphylaxis when there is an accidental exposure.

One of Many Treatments

It's important to note that Xolair is not a standalone solution and should be used in conjunction with other precautionary measures. Individuals with food allergies must still avoid consuming the specific foods they are allergic to, as Xolair does not eliminate the risk of an allergic reaction entirely.

Additionally, it is crucial for individuals with food allergies to communicate their condition to others. Whether dining out or attending social gatherings, informing friends, family, and restaurant staff about specific food allergies can help prevent accidental exposure and ensure a safer dining experience. Furthermore, carrying emergency medication, such as epinephrine auto-injectors, is vital for individuals with severe food allergies. These devices can provide immediate treatment in the event of a severe allergic reaction, offering a lifeline until medical help arrives.

A Brighter Future

Using Xolair for food allergies will be life changing for many patients and will give them more freedom and ability to live in the community with more confidence. While the prevalence of food allergies may be daunting, advancements like the use of Xolair bring hope to those affected. By combining medical interventions, precautionary measures, and increased awareness, individuals with food allergies can navigate their daily lives with greater confidence and reduced risk. It is essential for individuals with food allergies to work closely with their healthcare providers to determine the most appropriate treatment plan for their specific needs. With ongoing research and innovation, the future holds the promise of even more effective solutions for managing and potentially mitigating the impact of food allergies.

To learn more, see this article.