Peanut Allergy Greatly Burdens Adult Patients

NOVEMBER 10, 2019
Kevin Kunzmann
Peanut allergy burden does not lessen between childhood and adult patients—and the latter are still susceptible to difficult quality of life standards even if diagnosed at an early age.

In a new survey assessment presented at the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (ACAAI) 2019 Scientific Meeting in Houston this week, a team of US-based investigators reported findings showing nearly two-thirds of adult peanut allergy patients do not feel fully in control of their condition.

The report, presented by author Anna Nowak-Wegrzyn, MD, professor and division chair of Pediatric Allergy & Immunology at NYU Langone School of Medicine, emphasized the need for capable food allergy treatments which bring confidence to patients in managing their conditions.

And as Nowak-Wegrzyn observed in an interview with MD Magazine® while at ACAAI 2019, the findings shine a light on the often-neglected adult food allergy population.

“I think peanut-allergic adults mostly fly under the radar—the attention is mostly given to children, for good reason,” she said. “We feel like adults have been living with this condition, they’re responsible, they know how to do it. But it’s not really so.”



Nowak-Wegrzyn and colleagues provided an online survey to peanut allergy patients aged 18-55 years old which assessed their medical and treatment histories, as well as their metric-based, disease-specific health-related quality of life (HRQoL) scores.

Investigators collected patient scores for the Food Allergy Quality of Life Questionnaire-Adult Form (FAQLQ-AF) and Food Allergy Independent Measure (FAIM). Both scores vary from 1-7—with lower numbers indicating no impairment and higher numbers indicating extreme impairment for the former.

The 150 surveyed adult patients to complete the assessment were a mean 31.4 years old, with 65.4% being female and 64.1% being white. About 2 in 5 (40.5%) were diagnosed with a peanut allergy between 0-6 years old, and most (85.6%) were prescribed an epinephrine autoinjector.

Of those patients, 88.7% reported carrying it at least 75% of the time. Though all surveyed patients stated they actively avoided peanut allergen, 32% still felt “not at all/somewhat confident” in managing their reactions, and 39.2% felt “not at all/somewhat in control” of peanut allergies.

Mean FAQLQ-AF scores were 4.7, with slightly higher means in Risk for Accidental Exposure (4.8) and Emotional Impact scale (4.8).

Mean FAIM scale scores were 4.1, with the highest mean being for Product Avoidance (4.2).

Nowak-Wegrzyn and colleagues concluded the observed burden was significant in adult patients, despite their mostly childhood diagnoses. She told MD Mag that strategies beyond avoidance and an on-hand epinephrine autoinjector need to be considered for adults.

“This is a chronic disease, but you don’t experience symptoms every day—you experience symptoms episodically and in an unpredicted way,” Nowak-Wegrzyn said.

The study, “Peanut Allergy Burden Survey: Health-Related Quality of Life Among Adults in the United States,” was presented at ACAAI 2019.

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