By Dailymail.com Reporter
Published: 23:30 BST, 25 April 2019 | Updated: 23:31 BST, 25 April 2019
Treating childhood peanut allergy by gradually increasing tolerance may make the condition worse instead of better, a new study suggests.
'Food challenge' studies have indicated that oral immunotherapy, which involves gradually raising doses of an allergen over time, can be effective.
However, new research by McMaster University raises doubts about this approach.
It shows that compared with avoiding peanuts, attempts to desensitize children in the 'real world' promote allergic reactions, including the serious and potentially fatal condition anaphylaxis.
Scientists pooled the results of 12 trials involving more than 1,000 young patients with an average age of nine whose progress was followed for a year.
Recent studies have found oral immunotherapy (giving kids peanuts) can be effective. But a new study by McMaster University in Canada found the opposite
The studies compared the effectiveness of oral immunotherapy and avoidance using different peanut products and doses.
Researchers found that peanut oral immunotherapy tripled rates of anaphylaxis, from around 7.1 percent to 22.2 percent.
Allergic reactions leading to vomiting, abdominal pain, mouth itching, hives, wheezing and asthma all increased.
The findings favor avoidance over current forms of oral immunotherapy, said the study authors writing in The Lancet medical journal.
Lead researcher Dr Derek Chu, from McMaster University in Canada, said: 'Numerous studies of varying quality have been published on oral immunotherapy, but its effectiveness and reliability remains unclear.
Under clinical guidelines in the US, parents are advised to introduce peanuts into a baby's diet 'as early as four to six months'.
In the UK, parents are advised to give children crushed up peanuts from around six months, if there is no history of allergies in the family.
Peanut allergies among children have