Monday, December 15, 2014

Halfway there!

It's Christmas time and that means Matthew has been in his peanut patch clinical trial for half a year now! I'd like to say the time has flown by but actually it seems like we should be further along than six months. We're just so anxious to unblind this study and find out what's going on that it makes the time go slowly!

We still have check ups every two months and just had an appointment on December second. Each visit Matt has peak air flow testing, vitals and a site check. This time he also had blood testing and a scratch test, where they pricked his skin with peanut as well as a control (a histamine that will always cause a hive for comparison) and other common allergens like cockroach and trees.

Matthew had a  moderate skin reaction to the peanut scratch as well as to one of the trees, but our research assistant said not to put too much stock in the skin tests as they have such a high false positive rate. So essentially it didn't really give us any new information.

The arrow points to the peanut reaction

Matt still hasn't had any real symptoms or reactions to the patch as some kids in the study have. His cough, which I was concerned about initially has finally dissipated. This was his first visit where he has been cough-free and his peak air flow numbers where his highest yet.

He has developed keratosis pilaris over the last month which is a fine bumpy rash sometimes (but not always) associated with allergies in the same way that eczema may or may not be caused by allergies. His rash is on the back of his arms and not near the patch site, and his doctor doesn't think it's related.  

We made our next appointment for March, AND we made our two appointments in June for his two food challenges. I'm super excited and also scared for those appointments. 

I'm scared because he had a pretty severe reaction to his first food challenge and this one has a maximum exposure of five times the amount of peanut as the first!

Fear of food challenges has actually caused some parents to decline or drop out of this study. I don't love the idea of intentionally exposing Matthew to something that I know is potentially fatal for him, and he's not wild about it either. However, the greater fear for me would be not taking this opportunity, and having another accidental exposure someday with dire consequences. At least in this circumstance, he'll be exposed to peanuts in a controlled environment in one of the best hospitals in the world.

Of course I'm also excited because he could PASS the food challenge, which would be life changing! And if he doesn't, then hopefully it would be because he's on the placebo or a low dose patch in which case he'll be switched to the highest dose of 250mg for the next year.

Matthew is doing really well all around. Football season finished up in November and now he's in intramural wrestling which he really enjoys. Matthew and his little brother Ryan have loved WWE for years so this is their chance to try their moves on someone besides each other!

Matthew and Ryan warming up at wrestling

Until the next update, we wish you a
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
Matthew making a gingerbread house with his aunt.

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