‘From the horse’s mouth’: Kids prefer peanut patch to oral therapy
HOUSTON — Kids prefer a patch to oral treatment for peanut allergy, according to study results presented at American College of Asthma, Allergy & Immunology Scientific Meeting.
Matthew Greenhawt, MD, director of the Food Challenge and Research Unit at Children’s Hospital Colorado, explained that evidence has shown that patient preferences should be taken into consideration when deciding on peanut allergy treatment.
“While potential treatment options may be on the horizon, we still know very little about what motivates parents and the children themselves to make some of these choices, and what these preferences might ultimately be,” he said during a presentation.
Greenhawt and colleagues conducted an online survey of children with peanut allergy aged 7 to 11 years and their caregivers to evaluate their fears or concerns about peanut allergy, emotional reactions to peanuts and feelings toward different treatment approaches. In the survey, children used emoticons of faces to indicate their emotions.
A total of 200 children and 206 caregivers were included in analysis.
Shared experiences, concerns
In the survey, children reported common experiences, including that the fact that they could not eat treats that other kids had (84%) and that they could not have certain foods at home (73%).
In addition, more than two-thirds reported that they had to bring their own food to parties (67%), which resulted in many reporting that they felt left out at social events (62%). Greenhawt explained that that this finding tracks with previous research showing that children with peanut allergy experience social isolation.
The survey also found that 72% of kids were thinking about their allergy when they were eating or were around food away from home, and 42% reported that they thought about it even when they were home.
According to Greenhawt, these results showed peanut allergy “is something that is perpetually on their mind.”
Feelings toward peanuts, treatments
The main concerns reported by children with peanut allergy were getting sick from accidental peanut exposure (98%), needing to go to the ED (96%), and getting a shot to treat a reaction (90%).
Most children indicated that they were scared, sick or disgusted at the idea of touching a peanut (83%), eating a peanut (81%), the taste of peanuts (79%) and the smell of peanuts (75%).
When asked if they would want eat a peanut if they could without getting sick, 22% of children reported that they did not want to at all, 46% said they wanted to “a little bit,” and 33% said they wanted to try a peanut “a lot.”
Partially due to their feelings toward peanuts, 38% of children reported that they did not want to try oral therapy at all, and just 15% indicated that they really wanted to try it after each therapy was described to them.
Children had much more positive feelings toward peanut patch therapy, with 42% reporting that they really wanted to use the patch and just 13% stating that they did not want to try it at all.
Nearly half of the children used happy faces to describe their feelings toward peanut patch treatment (47%), while the most common emotions toward oral therapy were scared or worried (44%).
Greenhawt said physicians typically hear what parents want for their children regarding treatment, but “this is from the horse’s mouth ... what they are living with and what they are telling us their concerns are.” – by Erin Michael
Greenhawt M, et al. D302. Presented at: American College of Asthma, Allergy & Immunology Scientific Meeting; Nov. 7-11, 2019; Houston.
Disclosure: Greenhawt reports numerous ties to industry.