Peanut Risk, Reactions to Marijuana Headline Allergy Meeting

Marcia Frellick

November 07, 2018

SEATTLE — Results from a trial that is testing whether a product can protect children from accidental exposure to peanuts by building tolerance will be among the highlights here at the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (ACAAI) 2018 Annual Scientific Meeting.

Todd Mahr

"This is a hot topic for a lot of parents with kids who suffer from peanut allergy, especially children 4 to 11 years of age," said incoming ACAAI President Todd Mahr, MD.

Some clinicians are already trying unapproved versions, Mahr said, so anticipation is high for powders and patches that could get the stamp of approval from the US Food and Drug Administration.

The program is also full of evidence-based practical advice that can help clinicians assist patients. For example, research will be presented on whether a pacifier licked by a parent before being put into a child's mouth is more beneficial to the child than washing or sterilizing it. Another presentation will examine what to do if an epinephrine auto injector is left out in the cold and freezes.

And top strategies for safe restaurant dining for families who have an allergic member will be explored. Families in a food-allergy network completed surveys and researchers calculated the strategies — such as speaking to a waiter or placing allergy-specific orders separately — that have had the best results.

Mahr said he is particularly excited about a session in which chief executive officers from health associations and foundations will talk about how allergists can team up with them on a regional or local level.

Allen Meadows

The session will explore how associations can partner with groups that support our patients, he explained.

In a full-day session, experts will summarize findings from the most significant studies since the last meeting, said ACAAI Vice President Allen Meadows, MD. "It's something that I get the absolutely most out of."

Second-Hand Marijuana Effects

A case study will take a look at the effect marijuana smoke can have on children with asthma, even if the smoker is not smoking in the same room as the child. With more states legalizing marijuana for medical or recreational use, experts will help allergists recognize potential allergic reactions.

The latest on biologics, several approved in the past year, and how to make the financial case for them will be a highlight on the opening day of the conference.

"In our specialty, we've only had one biologic until recently," said Meadows. "This will be a practical look at the various uses."

One session will look at the science behind biologics and another will look at how to get the expensive drugs approved, he said.

A day 3 highlight will be the presidential plenary on asthma and sleep disorders in adults and children, he added.

"We have some of the world's leading experts on asthma speaking," he said. "I think that one's going to be outstanding."

Mahr has disclosed no relevant financial relationships. Meadows said he will join an advisory board for GlaxoSmithKline, and is a speaker for Teva, Pfizer, and Circassia.

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