Is lifelong treatment necessary with a drug to manage severe food allergies? Elizabeth Tracey reports


An injectable drug called omalizumab now may be used to manage severe food allergies, the FDA has decided. Robert Wood, an allergy expert at Johns Hopkins, says the drug will only work if people are taking it.

Wood: This is a therapy that will only work while you're on it. It's like our antihistamine that works while you're on it and then once you stop it it wears off, but is by no means automatically lifelong. If you want lifelong protection it's a lifelong therapy, for the family that is particularly worried about the preschool years they could use it for the preschool years and then stop it when they think their child is old enough and aware enough of their food allergy that they can practice avoidance more successfully. I actually see it rarely being used lifelong, very commonly used for these higher risk periods in people's lives.  :32

Wood says almost everyone tolerates the therapy just fine, even very young children. He’s excited to be able to offer something besides food avoidance and epinephrine in case of a reaction. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.