Food Oral Immunotherapy
Oral immunotherapy (OIT) is the process of exposing a food allergic individual to that food in a controlled manner and reduce the risk of future allergic reactions. The objective of OIT is to help the immune system slowly acclimate to the allergen and raise its threshold for triggering a reaction. Over time, oral immunotherapy can protect an allergic individual against a severe reaction should they come into direct contact with the allergen due to accidental exposure or cross-contamination. While OIT is not a curative therapy, it can significantly alleviate the symptoms and severity of allergic reactions.
At Allergy Partners, we help our patients steadily, safely, and incrementally increase their daily dose until allergic desensitization occurs. Our clinical team works closely with every patient and family to adjust dosages and build up as individual circumstances warrant.
Potential Patient Candidates for Oral Immunotherapy
Patients with a confirmed history of food allergy are candidates for OIT. For those with a history of severe symptoms, such as such as trouble breathing, loss of consciousness, or a rapid drop in blood pressure, and those with other conditions such as asthma, a very thoughtful discussion of the risks and benefits of OIT is needed.
Our oral immunotherapy treatments can be applied to many food allergens, including:
- Tree Nuts (almonds, walnuts, pecans, cashews, pistachios, hazelnuts)
Before beginning any OIT treatment, our team will review your allergy history, conduct allergen skin testing, perform blood tests, and, when indicated, conduct an oral food challenge to determine whether your situation meets the necessary criteria.
Reactions are common during OIT. Most reactions are localized and mild – with symptoms that include upset stomachs, skin rashes, and itchy mouth. However, in rare cases, severe reactions can occur.
Factors that can cause a systemic reaction include:
- A recent infection
- Hot showers
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (e.g., ibuprofen)
As a result, patients receiving OIT should strictly follow guidelines, read labels carefully, and carry epinephrine. We also recommend ingesting daily OIT doses before relaxing to avoid overworking the immune system and body. If necessary, the dosage may be paused or decreased due to other medical events/symptoms, illnesses, or extreme fatigue. At no time should patients believe improvements from OIT permit unregulated ingestion of the allergen.
Four Steps to Relief
Planning Your First Visit
Schedule an appointment at your local office and fill out our pre-registration and medical history forms to help minimize any wait time when you arrive.
Your First Visit
Your initial visit will last between two and three hours and consist of an initial consultation, evaluation, and comprehensive exam. We’ll create a treatment plan tailored to your unique needs.
Diagnostics and Testing
We may complete one or more tests to better understand the cause of your symptoms. Common tests include skin testing, pulmonary testing, and blood testing.
Following the evaluation and testing, we’ll provide a comprehensive diagnosis and implement a personalized treatment plan that will deliver relief.
The Allergy Partners Difference
Allergy Partners believes oral immunotherapy is an effective treatment option for many individuals. During clinical trials, ongoing exposure to allergens such as peanuts, milk, and eggs effectively desensitized approximately 60 to 80% of patients. In 2020, the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Allergenic Products Advisory Committee approved a standardized oral immunotherapy (OIT) product for peanut allergy.
That said, OIT is a treatment that demands professional guidance and supervision. Our clinical team has the expertise, equipment, and experience to navigate you through this tricky and complex treatment process. We will perform regular check-ups and conduct necessary blood tests to ensure the treatment is tailored to your allergic symptoms and condition.