Aimmune Therapeutics, Inc. (NASDAQ:AIMT), a biopharmaceutical company developing and commercializing treatments for potentially life-threatening food allergies, today announced that findings from APPEAL-2 (Allergy to Peanuts ImPacting Emotions And Life-2), the largest cross-sectional, pan-European, qualitative study to evaluate the psychosocial burden of living with peanut allergy, were published in Clinical & Experimental Allergy, the official journal of the British Society for Allergy & Clinical Immunology. The study highlights the substantial impact of peanut allergy (PA) on the lives of children, teenagers, and their caregivers. The study demonstrates how coping and management of PA are driven by fear of accidental exposure and reaction to peanut, and the resulting emotional, social, relationship, and work effects.
"In their own words, children, teens and their caregivers revealed the day-to-day difficulties of living with peanut allergy and how the lack of societal awareness impacts their emotional and social development, thereby suggesting a widespread need for improved quality of peanut allergy health management and education," said Audrey DunnGalvin, Ph.D., an investigator on both the APPEAL-1 and APPEAL-2 projects and a lecturer in the School of Applied Psychology at University College Cork in Cork, Ireland. "These findings reinforce what we learned from the quantitative data generated from the APPEAL-1 study and provide further insight for clinicians and policymakers on the significant needs among these allergic individuals and their caregivers throughout Europe."
APPEAL-2 was designed to further explore key areas of impact identified in the two-part APPEAL-1 study (Allergy. 2020;00:1-10.; Allergy. 2020;00:1-16) which found that individuals experience frustration, stress, uncertainty and low levels of confidence in managing their peanut allergy. The open access manuscript, entitled "APPEAL-2: a pan-European qualitative study to explore the burden of peanut-allergic children, teenagers, and their caregivers," is published online and can be accessed through the following link: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/cea.13719.
"The results of APPEAL-2 reinforce the findings of APPEAL-1 and further underscore that peanut-allergic individuals are more likely to experience feeling different, isolated, and restricted from social activities than their peers; their caregivers more often experience stress and adverse impacts on work and career," said Daniel Adelman, M.D., Chief Medical Officer at Aimmune. "Both peanut-allergic individuals and caregivers experience anxiety, worry, sadness, and annoyance, and reported their lives are adversely affected by peanut avoidance, accidental reactions to peanuts, and the fear of reacting to peanuts."
Key Findings include:
Children and Teens
- Most teenagers reported negative experiences when going to restaurants with friends, including embarrassment at having to declare their PA or being treated unkindly by staff.
- Almost a third of children and a small number of teenagers did not want others to know about their PA and actively chose not to disclose it, some because of embarrassment, others to avoid teasing or bullying.
- Almost all children and teenagers reported a negative impact of PA on their social activities. For children and teens, using "avoidance" as a strategy of disease management included not only restaurants, but avoidance of certain places (e.g., school, cinemas) and missing activities with friends.
- Children and teenagers felt left out or envious due to being unable to attend social events and share food with others; several participants reported incidents of teasing and/or bullying.
- A quarter of teens reported an impact on dating and on boyfriend/girlfriend relationships.
- Over a third reported that their child's PA had a negative impact on their work and/or career, including having to take time off and decreasing their working hours, demonstrating the potential socioeconomic impacts.
- For caregivers, buying and preparing food was a major, time-consuming aspect of managing their child's PA.
- Caregivers often mentioned needing to determine suitable places to eat and the distance to a hospital or pharmacy beforehand.
- Almost a quarter of caregivers preferred to avoid social events if peanuts were served or if they would have no control over the environment.
- Some caregivers (parents) did not allow their children to attend social events, causing children to "miss out" on many social activities.
- Caregiver anxiety was rooted in a lack of control; approximately half reported worrying about having less control of their child's food and environment as the child became more independent.
Results also uncovered opportunities to reduce the burden of living and coping with PA including: the importance of education to increase awareness and understanding of PA in both the general public and healthcare professionals across Europe; developing more clear and meaningful precautionary allergen food labeling, and; developing more informative communication around food allergen risk and safety.
Nederlands Anafylaxis Netwerk, The Anaphylaxis Campaign, Deutscher Allergie- und Asthmabund, Food Allergy Italia, Asociación Española de Personas con Alergia a Alimentos y Látex, Association Française pour la Prévention des Allergies, and Astma-Allergi Danmark contributed to the study design of the APPEAL Study.