According to a study conducted in eight European countries, people allergic to peanuts suffer from anxiety, stress, and isolation.
Are you allergic to peanuts and does this have negative effects on your daily life? Perhaps you are one of the 2,000 Europeans recently surveyed by the APPEAL-1 (Allergy to Peanuts ImPacting Emotions And Life 1) study, the first of its kind. It has just been reported to the European Allergy Congress, which took place in London.
65% of respondents feel isolated
This questionnaire was offered to almost 2 000 people in eight European countries (Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Ireland, Netherlands, Spain, United Kingdom) and is the first cross-European quantitative study to investigate the psychosocial effects of people suffering from a peanut allergy.
Anxiety, isolation, stress, frustration, and insecurity. All these feelings are shared by allergy sufferers. The evidence: 90% of the 1,846 respondents in the study said they felt frustrated and stressed, more than a third often felt feelings of anxiety, 65% said they felt isolated, 43% said they were ridiculed and more than 80% said they were restricted in their food choices.
There are also many inequalities between countries. In France, almost all respondents say they feel negatively ‘different’ (86%), with 74% even describing themselves as isolated. In Germany, on the other hand, fear is the most important factor, with almost a third of respondents saying that they had experienced the first announcement of a peanut allergy diagnosis as ‘very bad’. In the UK, more than half (52%) of respondents see themselves as victims of ridicule about their peanut allergy.
Finally, APPEAL-1 reports a low level of confidence among patients in Germany and France in identifying the symptoms of their allergic reaction and in the use of rescue equipment. In both countries, only about 13% of patients report knowing when and how to use rescue drugs.
Immunotherapy for peanut allergy
This questionnaire was carried out by the Laboratory Aimmune Therapeutics, which received a green light from the FDA in January 2020 for its experimental drug PALFORZIA ™ (AR101), oral immunotherapy. This approval gives it an advantage over its direct competitor, DVB Technologies SA, which has been working on Viaskin peanuts, a patch that has not yet been approved in the US. In both cases, these so-called immunotherapeutic approaches, oral or transdermal, are aimed at children to achieve progressive desensitization.
Way ahead of the competition, Aimmune Therapeutics has already submitted a marketing authorization application to the European Medicines Agency (EMA). The wholesale acquisition cost of Palforzia has been set at almost $900 a month. Aimmune will provide resources to patients and families who, upon consultation with their doctors, wish to seek treatment with PALFORZIA, including a co-pay program for eligible patients and a Patient Assistance Program to provide PALFORZIA at no cost to eligible patients.
*An update was made to the article on June 15, 2020.