For kids with food allergies, mealtimes and snack times can be scary.
It can take just one bite of the wrong food or an unknown ingredient, and sometimes just being in the same room where the food is being eaten by someone else; and a child's throat can start to close up. They can struggle to breathe within minutes. That's why it is so important for them to have an EpiPen close by.
EpiPens, which inject medication, can be life-saving for kids with severe allergies, but they can also be expensive. It can be daunting for someone who isn't trained to use the pen to perform an injection, not to mention scary for a kid facing a shot. That's why we are so excited to hear that there might be an alternative soon.
A doctor has developed an epinephrine tablet that could work just as well for people going through an anaphylaxis reaction. That's incredible news for the millions of people who have severe allergies.
According to a Newsweek interview, with the inventor Mutasem Rawas-Qalaji, the pill would dissolve under a person's tongue, much like pills designed for heart attacks, so people don't have to worry about swallowing during a reaction.
The tablet is designed to be fast-releasing, and help just as much as an EpiPen. But it also has a lot of pros that combat the problems of the current method. For one, an EpiPen is bulky; it's not easy for someone to carry around with them, and it can't get too hot. It also expires if it isn't used. The tablet, he said, would be more shelf-stable, and it's easier to carry around.
Plus, some people end up needing a second epi-dose, and very few people have two pens on them at a time. A tablet would be a lot easier to carry for a second dose.
The tablet is still in the trial phase, and it could be five or six years before it is available at drug stores. But the method has the possibility of helping in other cases as well, the doctor said. We hope that the Food and Drug Administration fast tracks this, because the tablet could save lives and change the future for kids with drug allergies.