Peanuts are a member of the legume family (botanical family Leguminosae) and peanut allergies are the most common cause of food anaphylaxis in many countries. The prevalence of peanut allergy is increasing.
Experts from Germany and Austria performed a standardized literature search and published their consensus recommendations in a White Paper on Peanut Allergy, which this care pathway is based upon, thus, providing a comprehensive diagnosis and treatment algorithm.
The most important diagnostic key elements include a detailed clinical medical history, evidence of peanut-specific sensitization by means of skin prick testing and/or in vitro determination of the peanut (extract)-specific IgE and/or the molecular component diagnostics (most important Ara h 2-specific IgE, sometimes also Ara h1-, 3-, 6-, 8- and 9-specific IgE) as well as the gold standard, the double-blind, placebo-controlled food challenge. The diagnostic algorithms were created for the following constellations: Suspected primary peanut allergy with a clear history of systemic immediate-type reaction, suspected primary peanut allergy with questionable symptoms, suspected secondary (possibly pollen-associated) peanut allergy with a history of solely oropharyngeal symptoms and incidental finding of sensitization and no peanut ingestion so far.
After established diagnosis the standard of care is counseling to avoid peanut contact and prescription of emergency medications (oral antihistamines, oral steroids, inhaled β2-agonists, injectable intramuscular epinephrine) as needed. Instruction on the use of these emergency medications should be provided. A preparation for oral immunotherapy (OIT) for 4 to 17 years old peanut allergic children/ adolescents has been recently approved by the regulatory authorities. OIT for peanut allergy shows high efficacy and an acceptable safety profile, improves quality of life, and health economic aspects. Thus it offers a therapeutic option for peanut allergic children and adolescents.