Are there downsides to using omalizumab for treating food allergy? Elizabeth Tracey reports


Omalizumab is an injectable drug just approved by the FDA to treat severe food allergies. Robert Wood, one author of a study used to inform the agency’s decision and an allergy expert at Johns Hopkins, says risks discerned in the study were very small, even for the youngest participants.

Wood: The other question that we discussed with our patients is what are the risks of the treatment? One of the advantages we had doing this study was that because it's an old drug there was lots of experience and knowledge about risk and they turn out to be very, very small. This drug had never been studied in anyone age 5 or under before this study and we did not see any signals for higher risk in young kids. The only warning that is on the package right now is that somewhere around one in 500 to 1000 people will have an allergic reaction to the injection itself.   :31

 Wood notes that the risk of a very severe allergic reaction to a food can include death, so for those with such allergies this can be a lifesaver. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.