Understanding caregiver goals, benefits, and acceptable risks of peanut allergy therapies

Matthew Greenhawt, Rebekah Marsh, Hannah Gilbert, Scott Sicherer, Audrey DunnGalvin, Dan Matlock

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

58 Scopus citations


Background: Both oral immunotherapy (OIT) and epicutaneous immunotherapy (EPIT) are emerging potential treatments for peanut allergy. Caregiver goals and expectations of these therapies are poorly defined. Objective: To determine caregiver goals and expectations of food allergy therapy. Methods: Twenty-two detailed, semistructured interviews of OIT and EPIT caregivers were conducted, allowing caregivers to describe their motivations for and experiences with food allergy therapy and life with a peanut allergic child. Results: In this sample, caregivers of peanut allergic children enrolled in OIT or EPIT phase 3 trials expressed a primary goal for their child to develop a buffer against an unintentional peanut exposure. The perception of the buffer varied, representing a decreased reaction severity on exposure, increased time to react to allow for assessment, or increased threshold of peanut exposure tolerated. Although caregivers expressed that a buffer may increase their confidence in travel and dining outside the home, they do not anticipate this buffer would lessen their overall level of pretherapy anxiety, allergen-associated vigilance, or avoidance practices. Most of the caregivers hope the buffer will increase their and their child's perceived sense of freedom for the child's actions and social interactions, translating to quality of life improvement, while still respecting the limitations of having a severe allergy that has been partially treated. No caregiver viewed these therapies as a cure, and most viewed treatment as a supplement to their current avoidance practices. Conclusion: Caregivers of peanut allergic children strongly desire that OIT and EPIT result in a buffer against an unintentional reaction, although most admitted that this would not significantly change their anxiety and family's current lifestyle.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)575-579
Number of pages5
JournalAnnals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Nov 2018


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