FDA Approves Drug to Reduce Accidental Food Allergies

The FDA has approved omalizumab (Xolair, Genentech) to reduce allergic reactions to foods in adults and most children. The drug is meant to be taken regularly to reduce the risk for reactions, including anaphylaxis, in case of accidental exposure to allergens. Omalizumab is not approved for emergency treatment. It is the first drug approved to mitigate allergic reactions to more than one food. A double-blind study showed that patients who received omalizumab were able to consume peanut, cashews, milk, and eggs without moderate or severe allergic symptoms. Common side effects include injection site reactions and fever. Omalizumab comes with warnings and precautions, and should be started in a healthcare setting equipped to manage anaphylaxis.

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