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New FDA-approved drug makes severe food allergies less life-threatening

February 17, 2024

Living with food allergies can be a fraught existence. There is no cure, and the standard management is to be ever vigilant of everything you eat and have an emergency shot of epinephrine constantly handy in case an accidental ingestion leads to a swift, life-threatening reaction. But, for the millions of people in the US who live with such allergies, a new drug may dull the threat.

On Friday, the Food and Drug Administration approved the antibody drug omalizumab (brand name Xolair) as an injection to lessen allergic reactions to foods in people ages 1 and up. In a trial of 168 children and adults with multiple food allergies, participants who received shots of omalizumab for 16 to 20 weeks were much more likely to tolerate a test dose of allergy-inducing foods at the end than those who received a placebo.

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