Sunday, October 11, 2009

Four Months & Two Weeks

We had our 10th visit to Duke this week.  We've been part of the Peanut Sublinigual Clinical Trial now for 4 months and 2 weeks.  I'd like to say we were halfway done, but I can't.  We've still got over 7 months to go before we do our first food challenge.

While we were at Duke this week, a mom and son came in for their last visit before their food challenge in December.  As we get closer and closer to Abigail's challenge, there will be more weeks between visits and fewer dosage increases.  This family was up to their highest dosage and were now just going every 6 weeks.  They are going to be either the first or second participant in our study to do the food challenge.  I was all ears as Dr. Kim was describing what was going to happen on the day of the challenge.

If the kids can tolerate it, they will be given the equivalent of 6 peanuts.  The results of the first challenges that occur in December and January can really impact the study.  If the kids can tolerate the peanut flour than that's fabulous news for us.  Talk about motivation!  If there is a high failure rate, then Dr. Burks and Dr. Kim will make modifications to the study.  Not sure what that means.  Larger dosages, more frequent increases?  Worst case scenario is that we have to start over on the peanut flour study.  The doctors really don't expect that to happen though.  There has actually been an adult on a similar sublingual study who did pass the food challenge.

I asked about Abigail's blood test results from our last visit.  I wanted to find out if her IgE number had changed.  Unfortunately, the results will be locked up until the food challenge.  Even Dr. Kim will be kept in the dark.  Abigail did have another skin prick test at this visit (she did fabulous).  Dr. Kim explained how her results could actually be worse than the initial baseline.  He did 8 pricks, 5 were peanut of various strengths, 1 was the saline prick and the last two were histamine pricks (Dr. Kim thought Abigail moved so he repeated the prick).  The histamine prick serves as the control.  If there is no reaction, then the test is faulty which is what happened at our last visit.  So, we watched and waited for 15 minutes.  The histamine pricks (the two on the bottom right side of her back in the picture) immediately formed welts and large red areas around the welts.  The first 2 pricks, the higher strength peanut pricks also formed welts and red areas.  The 3rd highest strength prick formed a pimple like place and was barely worth measuring.  The 4th and 5th strength prick didn't do anything.  That's a huge change from our first test where every prick reacted.

Do we get excited??  Is she already responding to the drops?  Afterall, it's only been 4 months and 2 weeks.  I asked if it was possible for her to simply be out-growing the allergy.  According to Dr. Kim, for peanut allergies, if a child doesn't out-grow it by the age of 5, they usually don't. Okay, so I'm just a little excited.  If we hadn't had a faulty test at our last visit, I'd be a lot more excited.  I'm still hesitant to start celebrating.  However, it's hard to complain or get worked up over having to drive almost 3 hours to Duke every other week.  Instead, I feel even more blessed at having the opportunity to do this for Abigail.

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