Countdown to Peanut Treatment Unblinding
May 27, 2008
Peanut or Placebo?
The question of whether Bo has been receiving a daily placebo or actual peanut flour for the past year as a participant in the peanut allergy treatment research study will finally be answered June 16. For Bo's parents, that's 20 long days and the anxiety of the possibility that he was randomly selected to be among the 1/3 of kids in the study getting a placebo, instead of the real peanut flour, are weighing on us.
Flashback to the euphoria of last summer when we first found out that Bo was accepted in the 2 year peanut allergy treatment study at Arkansas Children's Hospital. We knew it would be a big commitment, in both money and time to make the 14 hour round trip to Arkansas every other week, for 2 years. My wife was the one that insisted that it was a great opportunity to get Bo into a treatment program regardless of the emotional and financial costs. I was hesitant at first, thinking we should wait for a treatment program to come to us or at least closer than 450 miles. I had all the right excuses...he's going to miss a lot of school, we will miss a lot of work, plus the expenses of hotel, gas, wear and tear on the car. I still hadn't come to grips with how fast our lives were changing now that we knew that Bo's seemingly random hives and fainting episodes were a result of a severe and potentially life threatening peanut allergy.
Immediately upon meeting the doctors, nurses and other families involved with the peanut allergy treatment study at Arkansas Children's Hospital, we knew it was the right choice and how blessed we were to be selected. We were surrounded by food allergy experts who really cared about the kids and their families. Plus, the other families in the study we met became our support group. We learned about the success of kids receiving the same treatment Bo's study was designed around, only they had been at it a year or more and all were receiving the real peanut flour, no placebos. Their success was our hope!
We knew that Bo's treatment program was a double-blind study in which neither the doctors, nurses, or the families know who has been randomly assigned to get the placebo. Secretly, maybe even selfishly, we prayed it wouldn't be us, surely we were too committed for God to let that happen. All those hours in the car, all those rural small town miles (so small that during a 4 hour stretch of the drive, there are only two towns in which there is even a safe place for Bo to eat... Wendy's. Placebo is for someone else, not us... right?
On June 16 & 17 as Bo gets hooked up to an IV as a precaution for his day long series of food challenges of eating varying doses of real peanuts, it will be revealed whether or not we have been getting placebo or peanut for the first year of the peanut allergy treatment study. Regardless of the outcome, we have truly been blessed to be a part of this study and by the wonderful response to Bo's blog site!
What happens if Bo has been getting placebo since day 1?
We start back at square one of 6mg of peanut flour daily and have 2 more years of traveling to Little Rock every other week to complete the study, but at least we will be guaranteed to be getting real peanut from now on to build up Bo's tolerance.
What happens if Bo has been getting peanut flour since day 1?
Bo's dosage will be adjusted based on his reaction to the peanut food challenge and we will only have 1 year remaining to complete the study. Also, the protocol changes so that we need to only go to Little Rock once every 4 months, instead of every other week!
Regardless of the outcome on June 16, we promise to keep you posted on Bo's progress on this important next phase of his peanut allergy treatment study. Please join our prayers that the cure and prevention of all food allergies and diseases will be realized soon, so that we may all live safe, healthy, and normal lives.