NIH Recommends Early Peanut Introduction for High-Risk Infants
Babies at high risk for developing peanut allergies should be introduced to peanut-containing foods in a controlled way as early as 4 to 6 months of age, according to new guidelines from an expert panel sponsored by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease (NIAID).
Early peanut introduction was shown to dramatically reduce the risk for allergic sensitization in high-risk infants in the landmark LEAP trial. The new guidelines are largely based on findings from the 2015 study, which showed early introduction of peanut protein to be associated with an 81% reduction in peanut allergy among high-risk children.
Infants with severe eczema, egg allergy, or both are considered to have a high risk for peanut and other food allergies. The revised guidelines recommend that parents or caregivers introduce peanut-containing foods as early as 4-6 months to high-risk babies who have already started solid foods, after evaluation by the baby’s healthcare provider or a specialist.
The expert panel recommended that evaluation with peanut-specific IgE measurement, skin prick testing, or both be “strongly considered before the introduction of peanut to determine if peanut should be introduced and, if so, the preferred method of introduction.”