Efficacy and safety of oral immunotherapy in children aged 1-3 years with peanut allergy (the Immune Tolerance Network IMPACT trial): a randomised placebo-controlled study

Lancet. 2022 Jan 22;399(10322):359-371. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(21)02390-4.


Background: For young children with peanut allergy, dietary avoidance is the current standard of care. We aimed to assess whether peanut oral immunotherapy can induce desensitisation (an increased allergic reaction threshold while on therapy) or remission (a state of non-responsiveness after discontinuation of immunotherapy) in this population.

Methods: We did a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled study in five US academic medical centres. Eligible participants were children aged 12 to younger than 48 months who were reactive to 500 mg or less of peanut protein during a double-blind, placebo-controlled food challenge (DBPCFC). Participants were randomly assigned by use of a computer, in a 2:1 allocation ratio, to receive peanut oral immunotherapy or placebo for 134 weeks (2000 mg peanut protein per day) followed by 26 weeks of avoidance, with participants and study staff and investigators masked to group treatment assignment. The primary outcome was desensitisation at the end of treatment (week 134), and remission after avoidance (week 160), as the key secondary outcome, were assessed by DBPCFC to 5000 mg in the intention-to-treat population. Safety and immunological parameters were assessed in the same population. This trial is registered on ClinicalTrials.gov, NCT03345160.

Findings: Between Aug 13, 2013, and Oct 1, 2015, 146 children, with a median age of 39·3 months (IQR 30·8-44·7), were randomly assigned to receive peanut oral immunotherapy (96 participants) or placebo (50 participants). At week 134, 68 (71%, 95% CI 61-80) of 96 participants who received peanut oral immunotherapy compared with one (2%, 0·05-11) of 50 who received placebo met the primary outcome of desensitisation (risk difference [RD] 69%, 95% CI 59-79; p<0·0001). The median cumulative tolerated dose during the week 134 DBPCFC was 5005 mg (IQR 3755-5005) for peanut oral immunotherapy versus 5 mg (0-105) for placebo (p<0·0001). After avoidance, 20 (21%, 95% CI 13-30) of 96 participants receiving peanut oral immunotherapy compared with one (2%, 0·05-11) of 50 receiving placebo met remission criteria (RD 19%, 95% CI 10-28; p=0·0021). The median cumulative tolerated dose during the week 160 DBPCFC was 755 mg (IQR 0-2755) for peanut oral immunotherapy and 0 mg (0-55) for placebo (p<0·0001). A significant proportion of participants receiving peanut oral immunotherapy who passed the 5000 mg DBPCFC at week 134 could no longer tolerate 5000 mg at week 160 (p<0·001). The participant receiving placebo who was desensitised at week 134 also achieved remission at week 160. Compared with placebo, peanut oral immunotherapy decreased peanut-specific and Ara h2-specific IgE, skin prick test, and basophil activation, and increased peanut-specific and Ara h2-specific IgG4 at weeks 134 and 160. By use of multivariable regression analysis of participants receiving peanut oral immunotherapy, younger age and lower baseline peanut-specific IgE was predictive of remission. Most participants (98% with peanut oral immunotherapy vs 80% with placebo) had at least one oral immunotherapy dosing reaction, predominantly mild to moderate and occurring more frequently in participants receiving peanut oral immunotherapy. 35 oral immunotherapy dosing events with moderate symptoms were treated with epinephrine in 21 participants receiving peanut oral immunotherapy.

Interpretation: In children with a peanut allergy, initiation of peanut oral immunotherapy before age 4 years was associated with an increase in both desensitisation and remission. Development of remission correlated with immunological biomarkers. The outcomes suggest a window of opportunity at a young age for intervention to induce remission of peanut allergy.

Funding: National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, Immune Tolerance Network.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Oral
  • Allergens / administration & dosage*
  • Allergens / immunology
  • Arachis / immunology*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Desensitization, Immunologic*
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immune Tolerance
  • Male
  • Peanut Hypersensitivity / immunology
  • Peanut Hypersensitivity / prevention & control*
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Allergens

Associated data

  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT03345160