Original Article
Oral Immunotherapy for Peanut Allergy: Multipractice
Experience With Epinephrine-treated Reactions
Richard L. Wasserman, MD, PhD
a
, Jeffrey M. Factor, MD
b
, James W. Baker, MD
c
, Lyndon E. Mansfield, MD
d
,
Yitzhak Katz, MD
e
, Angela R. Hague, PA-C
f
, Marianne M. Paul, BS
c
, Robert W. Sugerman, MD
a
, Jason O. Lee, MD
b
,
Mitchell R. Lester, MD
b
, Louis M. Mendelson, MD
b
, Liat Nacshon, MD
g
, Michael B. Levy, MD
g
,
Michael R. Goldberg, MD, PhD
g
, and Arnon Elizur, MD
e
Dallas and El Paso, Tex; West Hartford, Conn;
Portland, Ore; and Tel Aviv and Zerin, Israel
What is already known about this topic? Oral immunotherapy for IgE-mediated food allergy has been reported for
decades but is seldom performed in allergy practices.
What does this article add to our knowledge? This report demonstrates, in 352 patients who received more than
240,000 doses of peanut, that oral immunotherapy for peanut allergy can be performed in a practice setting with a
manageable rate of epinephrine-treated reactions.
How does this study impact current management guidelines? This study suggests that some allergists may be able to
offer oral immunotherapy for peanut allergy to patients with peanut allergy, in recognizing that mild and serious reactions
occur and that long-term efcacy is unproven.
BACKGROUND: Peanut allergy creates the risk of life-
threatening anaphylaxis that can disrupt psychosocial
development and family life. The avoidance management
strategy often fails to prevent anaphylaxis and may contribute to
social dysfunction. Peanut oral immunotherapy may address
these problems, but there are safety concerns regarding
implementation in clinical practice.
OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this report is to communicate
observations about the frequency of epinephrine-treated
reactions during peanut oral immunotherapy in 5 different
allergy/immunology practices.
METHODS: Retrospective chart review of peanut oral
immunotherapy performed in 5 clinical allergy practices.
RESULTS: A total of 352 treated patients received 240,351 doses
of peanut, peanut butter, or peanut our, and experienced 95
reactions that were treated with epinephrine. Only 3 patients
received 2 doses of epinephrine, and no patient required more
intensive treatment. A total of 298 patients achieved the target
maintenance dose for a success rate of 85%.
CONCLUSION: Peanut oral immunotherapy carries a risk of
systemic reactions. In the context of oral immunotherapy, those
reactions were recognized and treated promptly. Peanut oral
immunotherapy may be a suitable therapy for patients managed
by qualied allergists/immunologists. Ó 2014 American
Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (J Allergy Clin
Immunol Pract 2014;2:91-6)
Key words: Peanut; Oral immunotherapy; Food allergy; Food
allergy treatment
The prevalence of food allergy has increa sed in recent years.
Estimates indi cate that 5% of children younger than age 5 years
old and 4% of older individuals are affected.
1
Food allergies,
especially peanut aller gy, are major health problems because of
anaphylaxis risk
2
and the adverse effects on quality of life.
3-7
The
guideline- recommended treatment for food allergy is strict di-
etary avoidance and the treatment of systemic reactions with
epinephrine autoinjectors (AMS).
8
Both severe and mild re-
actions create problems: severe reactions because of the possibility
of death, mild reactions because the unpredictabili ty of future
reactions
9,10
requires the same AMS respons e as for those with
severe reactions. The difculty of impl ementing the peanut AMS
in school and soci al environments
11-13
creates major burdens for
many affected children and their families. In our experience,
a
Department of Pediatrics, Medical City Childrens Hospital, Dallas, Tex
b
New England Food Allergy Treatment Center, Connecticut Children's Medical
Center, West Hartford, Conn
c
Department of Allergy and Immunology, Emanuel Hospital, Portland, Ore
d
Paul Foster School of Medicine, El Paso, Tex
e
Zerin Israel and Department of Pediatrics, Sackler School of Medicine, Tel Aviv
University, Tel Aviv, Israel
f
DallasAllergyImmunology, Dallas, Tex
g
Allergy & Immunology Institute, Asaf Harofe Medical Center, Zerin, Israel
Patient data collection and analysis were supported by each participating allergy
practice, without external funding.
Conicts of interest: J. M. Factor has received lecture fees from TEVA. L. E.
Manseld has received lecture fees from WAO, ECAC, and Compedia. A. R.
Hague is employed by Dallas Allergy Immunology. M. R. Lester is part owner of
the New England Food Allergy Treatment Center. The rest of the authors declare
that they have no relevant conicts of interest.
Received for publication September 1, 2012; revised September 27, 2013; accepted
for publication October 1, 2013.
Corresponding author: Richard L. Wasserman, MD, PhD, Medical City Childrens
Hospital, 7777 Forest Lane, Suite B-332 Dallas, TX 75230. E-mail: drrichwasserman@
gmail.com.
2213-2198/$36.00
Ó 2014 American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jaip.2013.10. 001
91
Abbreviations used
AMS- Avoidance management strategy
ETR- Epinephrine-treated reaction
IRB- Institutional review board
OIT- Oral immunotherapy
POIT- Peanut oral immunotherapy
PP- Peanut protein
SCIT- Subcutaneous immunotherapy
SPT- Skin prick test
many families subjected to these burdens may seek an alternative
approach to AMS for peanut allergy.
The standard AMS
8
of counseling avoidance and dispensing
epinephrine autoinjectors is not optimal.
14,15
Most food allergy
reactions occur after ingestion of foods thought to be safe.
14
One
study found that accidental exposure to peanuts by children with
peanut allergy occurs in as many as 11.9% of patients each
year.
16
In 1411 children followed up over 5 years, 71% of these
exposures resulted in moderate-to-severe reactions. Only 20% of
these children who experienced a reaction received epinephrine.
In another study, peanut ingestion denitely or probably
accounted for 20 of 32 episodes of fatal-food-associated
anaphylaxis.
17
Results of studies have shown that an available
epinephrine autoinjector is often not used in situations in which
its use is indicated.
16,18
Indeed, the rate of use of epinephrine
autoinjectors is disappointingly low.
19
As a result, there is
increased interest in alternative approaches to treating food
allergies, including oral immunotherapy (OIT).
20
Although OIT for food allergy is not an established treatment,
the use of OIT is supported by an extensive body of literature.
References to oral desensitization date to 1905.
21
Case series
22-25
and clinical trials of peanut OIT (POIT)
26,27
have shown
encouraging results. Similar to the experience with subcutaneous
immunotherapy (SCIT), careful observations of clinical practice
may provide supplementary information that informs the design of
clinical trials.
28,29
Although lacking the power of prospective,
controlled trials, this article reports the experience with signicant
adverse events during POIT in 352 patients who received more
than 240,000 doses. Although each site used somewhat different
procedures, we believe that it is appropriate to report our obser-
vations together because of the total number of patients and doses
administered, and because variations within an accepted range of
practice are common to the most widely used allergy treatment,
SCIT. Several allergists have expressed their views that POIT
should not be undertaken outside of controlled clinical trials
30
because of their belief that POIT is as yet unproven and unsafe. We
believe that reporting our experience with OIT for food allergy will
contribute to consideration of those issues. We report the experi-
ences of 5 allergy practices with POIT, which represents more than
350 treated patients, who received more than 240,000 doses.
METHODS
This article reports a retrospective medical record review of
patients who received POIT treatment through July 1, 2012, in
5 allergy practices. Two practices received institutional review
board (IRB) approval for the POIT treatment, and 3 practices
received IRB approval for retrospective chart review (details are
in this articles Online Repository at www.jaci-inpractice.org).
Each parent and patient was told that the standard of care for
peanut allergy was the AMS. It was further explained that POIT
is not a standard treatment and is not recommended in the Food
Allergy Guidelines.
8
It was emphasized that POIT administered
in these practices is not being done as research but as a form of
treatment. Discussions included reference to the unproven
nature of the treatment, the limited clinical experience, the
rationale for POIT, and the uncertainty of the long-term
outcome (desensitization vs tolerance) as well as the risk of
anaphylaxis and eosinophilic esophagitis. After the informed
consent discussion, each parent or patient signed an informed
consent document developed by the individual site.
At site 1, the patients had a history of reaction and a signicant
peanut anti-IgE (in vitro or in vivo) or a positive challenge before
treatment. At site 2, the patients had a history of an anaphylactic
reaction, a nonanaphylactic reaction with symptoms suggestive of
IgE-mediated disease within 1 year of beginning POIT, or a
positive challenge, except for patients with a high IgE (skin prick
test >7-mm wheal or ImmunoCap (Phadia, Portage, Mich)
15 kU/L) who were treated based on sensitization alone. At
sites 3, 4, and 5, the initial treatment dose was determined by a
positive open challenge. Therefore, 341 of 352 patients peanut
allergy was conrmed at the start of POIT. The remaining 11
patients had peanut IgE >14 kU/L. No patient was excluded
because of a history of a severe reaction or a high antipeanut IgE.
Treatment protocols used at each of the 5 sites were developed
locally based on previously used approaches.
22,26,31
At each site,
treatment began with a dose of peanut our that contained a
quantity of peanut protein (PP) (based on the package label)
projected to be below the threshold dose for a reaction. As the
dose of PP increased, alternate forms of peanut were used (peanut
butter, whole peanuts, Peanut M&Ms [Mars Inc, McLean, Va])
(see Table E1 in this articlesOnlineRepositoryatwww.jaci-
inpractice.org). All dose increases were administered under direct
observation at the treatment sites. The patients who tolerated an
increased dose received that dose once or twice a day for a dened
period of time and then returned to the site for dose increase(s).
Once a patient reached his or her maintenance target dose, that
dose was administered at home once or twice a day for a prolonged
period. Decisions regarding dose adjustments and discontinuation
of therapy were based on the clinical judgment of the physician.
The patients who reached maintenance were followed-up peri-
odically. At each site, patients and/or parents were instructed to
inform the site of any signicant reactions. Detailed descriptions
of the methods, including dosing schedules, are available in the
Methods section and in Table E2 of this articlesOnline
Repository at www.jaci-inpractice.org. The patients were instruc-
ted to avoid exercise for 2 hours after ingesting their peanut dose
and to contact the treatment site in the event of illness to discuss
dose adjustment. Criteria for epinephrine administration in
response to a reaction varied signicantly among the sites. At site
1, the patients and/or parents were instructed to use epinephrine
for any reaction other than isolated urticaria or mild oral itch. The
description of a mild reaction and the minimum criteria for
epinephrine administration used by each site are shown in Table I.
RESULTS
Patients (59% male), ages 3 through 24 years of age, were
treated in 4 community-based private allergy/immunology prac-
tices in the United States and 1 hospital-based practice in Israel
by using locally developed treatment protocols. Each protocol
J ALLERGY CLIN IMMUNOL PRACT
JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2014
92 WASSERMAN ET AL
involved a dose escalation and a maintenance phase analogous to
the approaches used previously for OIT for food allergy
21-24,26,27
and similar to rush or cluster approaches used for SCIT.
32
Of the
352 patients treated, 89% had exhibited at least 1 IgE-mediated
symptom, and more than 57% of patients had a history consistent
with a multisystem IgE-mediated reaction to peanut (Table II).
Sixteen of 352 patients (4.5%) exhibited only gastrointestinal
reactions (vomiting) to peanut exposure without other signs or
symptoms. Four patients had eczema, which improved with pea-
nut elimination and worsened with peanut exposure, without a
history of other IgE-mediated reactions; 5% had strongly positive
in vivo or in vitro tests for peanut-specic IgE but had never been
exposed to peanut. All the patients were tested in vivo or in vitro or
both for peanut-specic IgE (Table III). More than 50% of
patients exhibited peanut-specic IgE predictive of a >95% risk of
a reaction on exposure (Table III).
33
Fifty-seven reactions that required epinephrine occurred dur-
ing the administration of 79,726 escalation doses for a reaction
rate of 0.7 per 1000 doses (Table I). The lowest dose that trig-
gered an epinephrine-treated reaction (ETR) was 1.0 mg of PP.
Thirty-eight reactions that required epinephrine occurred during
maintenance administration of 160,625 doses, for a rate of 0.2
per 1000 doses. As has been previously reported, risk factors for
ETRs included exercise close to the time of dosing, viral illness,
and uncontrolled asthma.
34
For some patients, ETRs were
associated with signicant delays in dosing or failure to take the
dose with other food.
The majority (293 of 352) of patients (85%) who started
treatment reached the target maintenance dose. Twelve of the
patients who reached maintenance dropped out before this data
compilation, for an overall success rate of 80%. Reasons for
withdrawal included gastrointestinal symptoms (abdominal pain
or vomiting hours after dosing), taste aversion, mild (urticarial)
reactions, ETRs, anxiety, uncontrolled asthma (symptoms not
temporally related to peanut dosing), poor adherence and/or
inconvenience, and lost to follow up. There was considerable
patient-to-patient variability in the time to reach maintenance.
The available data do not permit a meaningful comparison of the
contributing sites. The minimum time to maintenance was 104
days, but some patients took more than 1 year. The follow-up on
maintenance ranged from a few weeks to more than 7 years.
DISCUSSION
The AMS of peanut allergy is very difcult and often
unsuccessful.
3-12,14-17
Emergency department visits for allergic
reactions are common,
35-38
and death due to anaphylaxis is well
documented.
2,14,17
The fear of these allergic reactions can be
anxiety provoking and disruptive for patients and parents.
In addition, patients may be stigmatized, isolated, and
TABLE I. Epinephrine-treated reactions during peanut oral immunotherapy
Site no.
Total12 3 45
Patients who began treatment 98 112 86 34 22 352
Escalation doses 30,378 34,650 7,224 6,451 1,023 79,726
Maintenance target dose
of PP (mg)
2,000 415 2,000-3,200 4,000-8,000 3,600
No. (%) of patients who
achieved maintenance dose
81 (83) 104 (93) 65 (76) 28 (82) 20 (91) 298 (85)
Denition of mild reaction Urticaria, oral itch,
mild abdominal
pain without
nausea or
vomiting
Urticaria, oral itch,
mild abdominal
pain without
nausea or
vomiting
Any reaction that does
not involve throat
closing or chest
tightness or loss of
consciousness
Urticaria, oral itch,
mild abdominal
pain without
nausea or
vomiting
Rash, mild itch,
respiratory
symptoms
responsive to
b
agonist
Criteria for administering
epinephrine
Any angioedema
or respiratory
tract symptoms
or vomiting
within 1 h of
dosing
Cough or wheeze
or throat
tightness or
hoarseness, or
generalized
urticaria and/or
angioedema or
severe
abdominal pain
or vomiting
Throat or chest
tightness or loss of
consciousness
Chest tightness or
wheezing or
cough plus
urticaria
Respiratory
symptoms not
responsive to
inhaled
b
agonist
ERT during escalation 48 0 1 2 6 57
No. (%) of patients with ERT
during escalation
30 (31) 0 (0) 1 (1) 2 (6) 3 (14) 36 (12)
Maintenance doses 52,656 55,250 35,776 12,820 4,123 160,265
ERT during maintenance 14 13 3 7 1 38
No. (%) of patients with ERT
during maintenance
4 (5) 9 (9) 2 (3) 2 (7) 1 (5) 19 (6)
ETR location, medically
supervised or not medically
supervised
23/39 0/13 1/3 1/8 3/4 28/67
J ALLERGY CLIN IMMUNOL PRACT
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WASSERMAN ET AL 93
bullied.
11,39-42
Food-allergy-specic quality-of-life surveys have
shown impairment in children with peanut and other food
allergies.
4,5,43
Clearly, the AMS does not normalize life for many
individuals with peanut allergy and their families.
The literature contains numerous case series and controlled
studies of OIT for food allergy using a wide variety of treatment
protocols.
23-27,31,44
Thoughtful clinicians can contribute signi-
cantly to the eld of food allergy treatment by applying their
knowledge, experience, and skill in patient care to clinical problems
as occurred during the development of SCIT.
32
A key question is
whether OIT can be performed safely in a clinical practice setting.
This article provides data to help answer this question.
Each site, in an effort to minimize the burdens of peanut
allergy for patients and their families, offered oral desensitization
modeled after the 100-year-old allergen desensitization strategy.
Each site took a somewhat different approach (see Methods in
this articles Online Repository at www.jaci-inpractice.org) but
each reached a similar result (approximately 85% of patients
reached maintenance). Because site 1 used a very low threshold
for epinephrine administration (any reaction that involved any
system other than skin), the ETR at that site was markedly
higher than the other 4 sites; 0.7 per 1000 doses versus an
average of 0.2 per 1000 doses at the other 4 sites. Despite dif-
ferences in methodology and the duration of the follow-up, we
believe that reporting the treatment of similar patients treated
using similar algorithms is not only reasonable but emphasizes
that, just as with SCIT, a variety of approaches can be successful.
Ninety-ve ETRs occurred in 352 patients after administra-
tion of more than 240,000 doses. Only 3 patients received 2
doses of epinephrine for a single ETR, and no patient required
intravenous uids for hypotension or other manifestations of
shock. Most of the reactions during maintenance occurred close
to the time of dosing when parents were closely observing
patients. The ETR use in 36 of 352 patients (10%) is compa-
rable with a controlled study in which the subjects underwent
double-blind, placebo controlled food challenge at entry, during
which there were 2 ETRs during OIT in 19 patients.
45
Analysis
of these data suggests that the patients reported in this article are
likely peanut allergic and the risk of ETR in a practice setting is
similar to that in a trial experience. The overall rate of systemic
ETRs per dose during OIT is higher but comparable with the
0.1% systemic reaction rate observed with high-dose SCIT.
46,47
Although SCIT for treatment of rhinitis, a disruptive
morbidity, has been an integral part of clinical allergy practice for
more than a century with renements in safety and efcacy ach-
ieved by prospective controlled trials, often based on clinical
experience, unanswered clinical and procedural questions remain.
There is similar uncertainty regarding the use of OIT to reduce
the risk of fatal food reactions, and the prudent clinician will
proceed with caution. This report provides data that support the
feasibility of oral immunotherapy to desensitize patients with
peanut allergy with a manageable rate of signicant allergic
reactions. Similar to SCIT reactions that rarely require more
intensive treatment than epinephrine, none of the 95 OIT
reactions reported here required treatment with intravenous uids.
Other, less severe reactions are not addressed in this report.
When patients elect POIT or parents elect to have their
children treated with POIT, they trade the known risk of POIT
dosing for the uncertainty of accidental exposure, a valid
concern. The incidence of accidental exposure to peanut is
reported to be between 4.7% and 11.9%.
15,16,48,49
The severity
of a food allergy reaction is a poor predictor of the severity of
subsequent reactions. In several reports of patients who died
from food allergy, their histories did not include any life-
threatening event.
9,14,50
Based on reported data,
16
41 multisystem reactions to inad-
vertent peanut ingestion would have been expected during the
approximately 490 patient years described in this article. Ninety-
ve ETRs occurred, but all followed an ingestion during which
heightened attention to symptoms had been specically
emphasized. Thus, the risk of ETR is increased 2-fold, with the
benet of no inadvertent ETR during this time period.
In the AMS approach, re-education regarding recognition of
reactions and the availability and use of epinephrine autoinjectors
may occur once or a few times a year. During OIT, these
TABLE II. Patient characteristics and pretreatment peanut
reaction history
Site no.
Total1 2 345
Median age (y) 8.0 9.0 8.1 5.0 5.8
Male patients (%) 57 58 64 55 60 59
Total no. treated 98 112 86 34 22 352
Indications for treatmentz
Multisystem reaction 62 60 40 20 20 202
Cutaneous or mild oral
symptoms only
24 38 39 9 2 112
Respiratory symptoms 36 45 25 37 20 163
Abdominal pain/vomiting
without other symptoms
10 5 24 1 0 16
Eczema 0 0 0 4 0 4
Sensitized but no known
exposure
2* 9* 7 00 18
*Peanut IgE >14 kU/L.
Positive challenge at the start of OIT.
zNumber of patients.
TABLE III. Antigen-specific IgE before beginning treatment
Site no.
1234 5
IgE
<3 kU/L* 95 2 3ND
3-8.9 kU/L 11 9 0 5 ND
9-14.9 kU/L 12 6 4 11 ND
15-49.9 kU/L 29 11 3 2 ND
50-99.9 kU/L 11 12 7 4 ND
>100 kU/L 26 45 5 9 ND
SPT wheal
<7mm ND 6z 3z 0x 3jj
8-12 mm ND 37z 16z 0x 7jj
>13 mm ND 53z 62z 4x{
ND, Not done; SPT, skin prick test.
*Antigen-specic IgE was measured by ImmunoCap or by activated cellulose
solid-phase immunoassay (Hycor Biomedical Inc, Garden Grove, Calif).
Skin test reagents were purchased from different vendors by each site at different
times.
zOrthogonal diameter of the wheal.
xOrthogonal diameter of the wheal that is 7 mm> negative control.
jjOrthogonal diameter of the wheal 3 mm is considered positive.
{This site does not differentiate SPT results 8 mm.
J ALLERGY CLIN IMMUNOL PRACT
JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2014
94 WASSERMAN ET AL
principles are reenforced at each visit. In our experience,
individuals with peanut allergy are vigilant after an OIT dose
and, therefore, identify and treat systemic reactions promptly
(R. L. Wasserman, oral observation, January 2009-June 2012).
Early treatment correlates with favorable outcomes in severe food
allergic reactions.
50
The environment of intentional ingestion
contrasts dramatically with the potential for exposures that may
occur with inadvertent ingestion. Although experiencing a reac-
tion caused some patients to discontinue treatment, most fam-
ilies judged the risk of reaction due to POIT to be more
acceptable than the risks of accidental ingestion. Notably, there
were no accidental peanut ingestions that led to reactions that
required epinephrine during treatment.
There is a paucity of data concerning the impact of food OIT
on patients and families. However, 2 reports used validated food-
allergy quality-of-life tools to assess the impact of OIT. A small,
retrospective evaluation of family quality of life showed that, 6
months after reaching OIT maintenance, the quality-of-life score
was 0.21,
51
compared with 2.8 (on a 7-point Likert scale) among
historic control families by using the AMS approach.
43
A report
of a larger group of patients demonstrated similar ndings in a
different patient population.
52
This report supports previous
observations that exercise, viral illness, and unstable asthma are
risk factors for systemic ETRs during food OIT.
34
The over-
whelming majority of ETRs occurred during concomitant illness
or exercise within 2 hours of dosing; however, some ETRs
occurred without an identied risk factor. Clinicians who offer
food OIT must be appropriately trained and experienced in the
diagnosis of food allergy, food allergy reactions, and anaphylaxis.
They must carefully and thoroughly educate their patients and
parents about reaction risk factors as well as the recognition and
treatment of systemic reactions. They must also be prepared to
assess reactions, for example, a single perioral hive or mild oral
itch, in the context of the individual patients experiences during
POIT and concurrent risk factors (eg, viral infection or exercise)
to make appropriate dose adjustments. This requires diligent
patient and/or parent reeducation at every opportunity as well as
a willingness to be continuously available to make decisions
regarding OIT dosing.
Knowledge of POIT is in the public domain. An imperfect
but reasonable measure of public interest, a Google search
(Google Inc, Mountain View, Calif) on peanut oral immuno-
therapy performed December 23, 2012, yielded 119,000 hits.
This information is available to nonallergist physicians, non-
physician practitioners, and the lay public, including parents.
Restricting POIT to research studies creates the concern that
nonallergist physicians or patients and/or parents will undertake
POIT on their own because it is not otherwise available. How-
ever, additional well-controlled, long-term, prospective studies
are needed to prove the efcacy and long-term safety of POIT.
Indeed, a recent long-term follow-up of a milk OIT study
53
reported that some, apparently desensitized, subjects continued
or developed symptoms of milk sensitivity years after reaching
maintenance. Our article demonstrates that peanut OIT can be
administered as a treatment with an acceptable ETR rate. Prac-
ticing allergists may consider offering this treatment to patients
with peanut allergy.
Acknowledgments
We thank the investigators and clinicians who are caring for
patients with peanut allergy on whose work our treatments have
been based. In addition, we recognize the crucial role that our
colleagues and staffs have played in the care of these patients and
the assembly of the data presented. Most of all, we acknowledge
the trust in their physician evidenced by patients and their
families when they embarked on this novel therapy to improve
their lives.
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96 WASSERMAN ET AL
Institutional Review Boards
Two practices received IRB approval for the POIT treatment
(site 2 [Quorum Review IRB Inc, 1601 Fifth Avenue, Suite
1000, Seattle, Washington 98101; telephone 877-472-9882;
FAX 206-448-4193], and site 5 [Assaf-Harofeh Medical Center
IRB, Zerin, Sackler School of Medicine, Tel Aviv University,
Israel; Eitan Scapa, MD, chairman]); and sites 1, 3, and 4
received IRB approval for retrospective chart review (North
Texas IRB at Medical City Hospital, Dallas, Tex).
METHODS
Site 1
Treatment comprises 3 phases. Phase I is a single day begin-
ning with 1.025 mcg of PP (the amount of PP in peanut our is
based on the package label) dissolved in Kool-Aid (Kraft Foods
Group, Northeld, Ill), followed by increasing doses adminis-
tered every 15 minutes until there is any symptom or until the
6.15-mg dose is reached. PP dissolved in Kool-Aid is made fresh
on the day of use. PP in Kool-Aid at the appropriate concen-
tration is provided to patients and stored refrigerated for no more
than 7 days. Patients begin phase II by taking the last tolerated
dose at home twice a day and returning weekly to be challenged
with the next dose until they reach 12 peanuts twice a day or the
equivalent amount of PP in peanut butter or peanut our.
Peanut our is provided in capsules (commercial peanut our is
compounded into capsules by a compounding pharmacist),
which contain different amounts that the patient or the parent
opens into food or liquid immediately before dosing. Patients
receive peanut our until they have tolerated 205 mg of PP.
Although there is signicant variation in the weight of individual
peanuts by brand (based on weighing 100 peanuts from several
packages of different brands), for the purposes of this treatment,
a peanut was dened as weighing 450 mg (40% of which is
protein or 180 mg of protein). In an effort to enhance the safety
of the transition from our to whole peanuts, dose escalation
with peanut our continued until the patient was ingesting
approximately 10% more PP as our than would be contained in
a whole peanut. The patients then are given the option of using
peanut our, peanut butter, Peanut M&Ms (Mars Chocolate
North America, Hackettstown, NJ), or 1 of 3 brands of whole
peanuts. When patients are able to tolerate 12 peanuts per dose
(or equivalent), most patients are challenged with 24 peanuts. If
they pass the challenge, then they continue to phase III, main-
tenance of 8 peanuts twice a day for 3 months, then once a day
for at least 3 years.
Site 2
Peanut our in water is mixed with apple sauce or pudding,
and is administered starting with 0.1 mg of PP. Doses are
doubled every 30 minutes to a maximum of 6 mg on day 1. On
day 2, the 6-mg dose is repeated. Patients then take 6 mg once
daily for 2 weeks and return every 2 weeks for dose increases
until they reach a dose of 383 mg of PP as peanut our. Patients
were dispensed preweighed peanut unit dose covered cups.
Parents mix the peanut our with a carrier food at the time of
dosing. At 383 mg of PP, dosing is changed to 3 Peanut M&Ms
(approximately 450 mg) daily; the maintenance dose that is
continued for an indenite period to maintain the desensitized
state.
Site 3
Peanut our is mixed in juice to make a 250 mg/mL solution
that is then serially diluted to 2.5 mg/mL for use. Peanut our
solution is used until the 100-mg dose. For larger doses, our is
mixed with food. At 1000 mg, solid peanut is begun. Treatment
comprises 3 phases. Phase I begins with a dose of 0.1 mg of PP in
grape juice followed by increasing doses administered every 15
minutes until there is any symptom or until the 50 g of peanuts
(which contains 20 g of PP) is reached. Patients who tolerate 50
g of peanuts are judged to be not allergic to peanut and are not
included in this report. Patients begin phase II by taking the last
tolerated dose at home twice a day and return weekly to be
challenged with the next dose until they reach 4 g of peanuts
(1600 mg PP) for patients <27.8 kg, 8 g of peanuts (3200 mg
PP) for patients >27.8 kg administered twice daily for 3 months,
then once daily. At this site, each patient purchases a balance and
weighs each dose to account for the variability in the size of
peanuts. Patients continue the maintenance dose twice a day for
3 months and then change to phase III, taking the dose main-
tenance once a day for at least 3 years.
Site 4
Patients undergo an open challenge to increasing doses of pea-
nut our beginning with 0.13 mg of PP and doubling every 15
minutes until a reaction occurs or the patient tolerates 1000 mg of
peanut our (approximately 1 peanut). The initial home treatment
dose is the highest tolerated dose before the sign or symptom eli-
cited by the provoking dose. The patient then takes the treatment
dose 3 times a day (if the dose is < 1mg)ortwiceaday(ifthedose
is >1 mg) and returns every 7 days for a dose increase of twice the
previous weeks dose that then becomes the dose for the next week
at home. This continues until the patient is able to tolerate 4-8 g of
peanuts or the equivalent of peanut our or peanut butter. The
choice of the PP source was made jointly by the parents and the
clinician. The 4-8 g maintenance dose is taken twice daily for 1
year, then once daily for a year, and then every other day to 2-3
times a week. Initially, the maintenance target was determined by
the clinician based on the weight and age of the child and the
childs ability to consume peanut. During the last year of obser-
vation, the maintenance dose was 4 g daily.
Site 5
Patients undergo 3 rounds of induction, performed every 4
weeks, each comprising 4 days. Peanut our suspended in liquid
is used until the patient tolerates 300 mg PP when whole peanuts
are used. On day 1, the starting dose of 0.1 mg PP is doubled
every 15 minutes up to 10 mg, then increased every 30 minutes
to 15, 25, 50 mg. If there is no reaction, then there are further
increases on day 2 (see Table E2). If there is a reaction, then, on
the second day, the dose is decreased 2 steps and increased to a
dose between the last tolerated dose and the dose that triggered a
reaction. On the third day, the last 2 tolerated doses are repeated,
and, on the fourth day, the tolerated dose is repeated twice at
120-minute intervals. This is then the home dosing regimen.
Home treatment then continues for 24 days until the next 4-day
dose escalation. Patients who require a longer treatment to reach
the target dose return for 1 day per month to be challenged with
a 50% increase and then continue this dose at home. Mainte-
nance is 1 dose a day indenitely.
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WASSERMAN ET AL 96.e1
TABLE E2. Dosing schedules
Site
12345
0.001* 0.1 0.1 0.13 0.1
0.002 0.2 0.2 0.26 0.2
0.004 0.4 0.4 0.52 0.5
0.01 0.8 1.0 1.04 1.25
0.021 1.6 2.0 2.08 5
0.041 3.2 4.0 4.2 10
0.103 6.0 10 8.4 15
0.205 End day 1 20 16.8 25
0.410 6.0 End day 1 32.5 End day 1
1.025 12 40 65 10
2.05 25 40 130 15
4.1 50 100 260 25
6.15 75 200 520 50
6.15 125 400 1040 100
10.25 156 800 End day 1 200
20.5 195 1600z 2000x 300
End day 1 245 3200 4000 300jj
20.5 306 8000 600
41 383
72 3 M&Ms
(approximately
450 mg)
102.5
205
250
500
750
1000
1250
1500
1750
2000
2500
3000
*Dose in mg of PP.
If there was no reaction on day 1, then dosing proceeded to day 2; if there was a
reaction, then, on day 2, dosing dropped back 3 steps and then continued.
zMaintenance for patients <27.8 kg.
xFor the past year of the observation period at site 4, maintenance was reduced to
2000 mg/d.
jjThis dose and subsequent doses were administered as whole peanuts.
TABLE E1. Peanut products used for desensitization at each site
Site
1234 5
Peanut our, defatted 
Whole roasted peanuts 
Peanut M&Ms 
Peanut butter 
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96.e2 WASSERMAN ET AL