Back to School Basics for Food Allergic Children

Food Allergies Becoming More Apparent, Expert Offers Tips for Parents

Aug 30, 2007, 01:00 ET from Verus Pharmaceuticals

    SAN DIEGO, Aug. 30 /PRNewswire/ -- More than 2.2 million school-age
 children have life-threatening food allergies and that number is expected
 to rise according to the Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network. For these
 children, heading back-to-school can spell increased risks unless prepared.
     "Parents of food allergic children have to take an extra step when
 their children are in a school environment, but this is a topic that
 everyone should be aware of. Even if their child doesn't have severe food
 allergies, chances are one of their child's friends do," says leading New
 York-based allergist and immunologist, Clifford Bassett, M.D.,
 F.A.C.A.A.I., F.A.A.A.A.I., Assistant Clinical Professor of Medicine and
 Otolaryngology, at SUNY -- Long Island College Hospital and Faculty of NYU
 School of Medicine. Dr. Bassett offers this advice for parents and
 caregivers of food allergic children:
     Study-Up:  Parents should check their state laws and school policies to
     see if children are allowed to bring epinephrine auto-injectors, the
     standard treatment for anaphylaxis or a severe reaction, to school as
     there are some states and school districts that ban these life-saving
     devices. The American Medical Association recently voted to lobby for a
     national law to allow children to carry their epinephrine auto-injectors,
     such as Verus Pharmaceuticals' Twinject(R), with them at all times, but
     until the bill is signed, it's important for parents to know and
     understand their local laws.
     Have a Back-Up: Studies show that approximately one in three anaphylactic
     reactions require a second dose of epinephrine within minutes of the first
     dose. It's essential to keep a back-up dose of epinephrine on-hand.
     Twinject(R) is the only Food and Drug Administration approved
     auto-injector that contains two doses of epinephrine in a single,
     easy-to-use compact and convenient device.
     Know the Drill:  A food allergic child can be their own best advocate from
     kindergarten through college. Parents should role play with their child so
     they are fully aware of what they are allergic to and can ask teachers,
     cafeteria staff and friends appropriate questions. In addition, it's
     important for children to know the symptoms of a severe allergic reaction,
     such as shortness of breath and hives, and have key people to turn to,
     including school nurses, teachers, coaches and friends, in an emergency.
     Be a Label Detective: Learn how to interpret and "de-code" food labels for
     hidden ingredients that may wreak havoc if a child has a food allergy.
     Even one-fiftieth of a teaspoon of a suspect allergen can cause a
     potentially life-threatening reaction in a severely food allergic child.
     Cross-contamination of cooking surfaces, utensils and cookware can pose a
     danger, especially if it's not communicated to cafeteria and restaurant
     staff. Preparing a "food allergen ingredient card" for the chef and
     kitchen staff to ensure a safe dining experience can help.
     Create ICE Cards:  Give children identification or In Case of Emergency
     (ICE) cards that have personalized information that includes their
     allergens, emergency contact info and what to do in an emergency.  This
     can easily be handed to immediate caregivers in an emergency situation.
     Make Time To Meet:  Parents and caregivers should schedule a pre-meeting
     with school officials to educate them on their child's needs and talk to
     their local allergist to stay up to-date on the latest in food allergy
     management. Organizations like the Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network and
     parenting support groups offer great resources and information.
     For more information on anaphylaxis, treatments and free resources such
 as a downloadable Chef's Alert Food Allergy Card, Twinject Emergency Action
 Plan and training videos, visit
     About Twinject
     Twinject(R) auto-injector 0.3 and 0.15 mg (epinephrine injection, USP
 1:1000) is indicated in the emergency treatment of severe allergic reaction
 including anaphylaxis to stinging and biting insects, allergen
 immunotherapy, foods, drugs, diagnostic testing substances, and other
 allergens, as well as anaphylaxis to unknown substance or exercise-induced
 anaphylaxis. Twinject is the only available product approved by the FDA
 that contains two doses of epinephrine in a single, compact device. This is
 an important feature, as published studies demonstrate that for
 approximately one in three patients, more than one dose of epinephrine may
 be required to properly address the allergic reaction, with the second dose
 often needed within 10 minutes after the first dose. Furthermore, a recent
 study demonstrated that only 16 percent of patients carry two single-dose
 auto-injectors at all times. More information about anaphylaxis and
 Twinject is available on Verus' Twinject website at
     About Verus
     Verus Pharmaceuticals is dedicated to improving the lives of children
 and those who care for them. Verus is building a portfolio of products for
 the unmet medical needs of children through acquisitions and alliances,
 with an initial focus on the treatment of asthma, allergies, and related
 diseases and conditions. Verus is differentiated by its pediatric
 orientation and its strong financial position and experienced management
 team, which allows the company to capitalize on an extensive network to
 build its product portfolio and pursue complementary transactions. The
 company's rigorous, disciplined approach to strategic decision-making and
 core competencies in development and commercialization is expected to
 provide significant value to its partners. More information about Verus is
 available on the company's corporate website at
     Verus(TM) and Twinject(R) are trademarks of Verus Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
     Forward-Looking Statements
     Verus Pharmaceuticals cautions you that statements included in this
 press release that are not a description of historical facts may be
 forward-looking statements. The inclusion of forward-looking statements
 should not be regarded as a representation by Verus that any of its plans
 will be achieved. Actual results may differ materially from those set forth
 in this press release due to the risks and uncertainties inherent in Verus'
 business including, without limitation, statements about: its ability to
 identify appropriate acquisition, licensing, or co-development and/or
 promotion candidates in the future or be able to take advantage of the
 opportunities it identifies; difficulties or delays in developing,
 obtaining regulatory approval, manufacturing and commercializing its
 products; unexpected performance or side effects of its products that could
 delay or prevent development or commercialization, or that could result in
 recalls or product liability claims; the scope and validity of patent
 protection for its products; competition from other pharmaceutical
 companies; and its ability to obtain additional financing to support its
 operations. All forward-looking statements are qualified in their entirety
 by this cautionary statement and Verus undertakes no obligation to revise
 or update this press release to reflect events or circumstances after the
 date hereof.
     Important Safety Information
     Twinject is designed as an emergency supportive therapy only and is not
 a replacement or substitute for immediate medical care.
     Side effects of Twinject may include anxiety, apprehensiveness,
 restlessness, weakness, tremor, dizziness, headache, sweating, irregular
 heartbeat, nausea, vomiting, and/or breathing difficulty. Twinject should
 be used with extreme caution in people who have heart disease. There are no
 absolute contraindications to the use of epinephrine in a life threatening
 allergic reaction.
     Epinephrine auto-injectors have fixed amounts of epinephrine. If the
 patient weighs less than 33 pounds (15 kilograms), please consult a
     Media Contacts:
     Amy Caterina                   Jennifer Fernandes
     Verus Pharmaceuticals, Inc.    CarryOn Communication
     858-436-1623                   323-988-4675

SOURCE Verus Pharmaceuticals