Today, because of COVID-19 precautions, Jayden sees Dr. Portnoy via virtual visits, reducing the risk of exposure to the virus, but maintaining the connection necessary to continue with his care.
Thanks to desensitization with Palforzia, he’s now able to able to consume 2,044 milligrams of peanut protein cumulatively without triggering a reaction. That’s the equivalent of eight peanuts!
“They now say Jayden is ‘bite-proof,’ meaning he could accidentally take a bite of something with peanut in it without going into anaphylactic shock,” Kim explained.
Dr. Portnoy said patients who have reached the level of desensitization that Jayden has don’t have a license to eat foods containing peanut.
“We don’t tell patients they can eat peanuts or that they can stop carrying their epinephrine pen, but they don’t have to be so worried about a life-threatening reaction if they do eat peanut,” Dr. Portnoy explained.
Long term, Dr. Portnoy said physicians aren’t sure what would happen if someone stopped taking Palforzia, but they know as long as it’s continued, they can maintain a tolerance to peanut.
“This is the first time in my career that we’ve had a viable treatment to offer patients who are allergic to peanut, other than total avoidance. Treatment greatly reduces the anxieties these families have and improves their quality of life,” he said.
Jayden agreed with Dr. Portnoy. “Now I can enjoy foods and do the things I want to do without constantly worrying that I might eat peanut and have a life-threatening reaction,” Jayden said.
In fact, the teen now plays baseball and is active in marching band, show choir, robotics and a number of other school activities. “This experience has influenced my understanding of allergies, and is making me think about a career related to medicine,” he said.
For Kim, the medication has given their family the freedom to do things others take for granted. “Before Jayden started the trial, if the school called one of our phones, we were in constant panic mode. Now, we’re not as worried. This has been life-changing.”