Oral immunotherapy involves a patient ingesting a series of progressively increasing doses of allergenic food(s) in an effort to desensitize the immune system. This will result in reducing the risk of severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) from accidental exposure, and can increase a patient’s tolerance to the point of ingesting previously allergic foods as a normal part of the diet.
- Currently we offer this program for patients allergic to peanut, cashew and pistachio, and egg; other foods may be offered as needed.
- In order to be a candidate for OIT, the patient must receive a thorough work-up including a complete history, limited physical exam, and testing, which may involve blood work, skin testing, and/or oral challenges performed in the office. The extent of the work-up is based on whether or not the patient is new to our practice or established, as well as the results of any testing done previously.
- Because OIT involves actually ingesting established allergens, it is a process that involves building tolerance. This is done with a series of doses as part of a protocol. Increases in dosing, or “up-dosing” is performed in the office on a weekly basis, with the patient maintaining that dose daily at home between each “up-dose” visit. The goal of treatment is to safely build tolerance to allow for significant risk reduction from accidental exposure to problem foods, as well as allow ingestion as a normal part of the diet.
- Currently, OIT is not FDA approved, meaning that the cost of materials is not covered by insurance, and are the responsibility of the patient. Office visits, oral challenges, and other aspects of the evaluation will be billed to the patient’s insurance, with the patient assuming responsibility for any other costs not covered by his or her plan.