BOSTON – The incidence of cashew allergy is rising, and there are currently no clinical trials for the condition, according to findings presented at the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology annual meeting.

“Peanut allergy is way ahead of tree nut allergy with regards to progress toward developing treatments” Stephen A. Tilles, MD, immediate past president of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, told Healio Family Medicine. “This study is an early step towards improving our understanding of tree nut allergies, and we hope it will help open the door for developing tree nut allergy treatments”.

Study co-author Daniel Petroni MD, PhD, of the Northwest Asthma and Allergy Center in Washington, said in an interview that previously published data indicate the prevalence of food allergies, including cashews, has risen over the last 15 years.

Tilles, Petroni and colleagues retrospectively reviewed electronic medical records of patients with food anaphylaxis in Washington throughout 2016 to further investigate cashew allergy prevalence. Responses from a double-blind, placebo-controlled food challenges were also examined.

Researchers found that of the more than 10,000 patients studied, 6,937 had a new diagnosis of tree nut anaphylaxis and about half tested positive for cashew allergy. Of the 71 patients challenged with possible cashew allergy, 56 had allergic reactions, with a mean eliciting dose of 62.6 mg.

Also, the most frequent adverse effect reported was urticaria (93%), followed by gastrointestinal symptoms (59%). In addition, epinephrine was needed for 7.1% of patients, largely due to intractable gastrointestinal anaphylaxis and/or respiratory symptoms, and one patient needed two doses of epinephrine, according to researchers.

“Interestingly, there was a high prevalence of severe gastrointestinal symptoms compared to other tree nuts”, Tilles and colleagues wrote. – by Janel Miller

Reference: Kimmel J, et al. Poster 343. Presented at: the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology 75th Annual Scientific Meeting; Oct. 26-30, 2017; Boston.

Disclosures: Healio Family Medicine was unable to determine the authors’ relevant financial disclosures prior to publication.