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Oral Immunotherapy for Food Allergy

Robert A. Wood, MD

Director, Pediatric Allergy and Immunology, Department of Pediatrics, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD USA

J Investig Allergol Clin Immunol 2017; Vol. 27(3)
doi: 10.18176/jiaci.0143

Food allergy is a potentially life-threatening condition with no approved therapies apart from avoidance and injectable epinephrine for treatment of acute allergic reactions. Oral immunotherapy (OIT) is an experimental treatment in which patients consume gradually increasing quantities of the food to which they are allergic in attempt to induce some level of desensitization. While desensitization is possible in most patients, OIT carries significant risks for allergic reactions and the ability to induce longer term tolerance has not yet been established. This review focuses on select studies of OIT for the treatment of common food allergies such as cow’s milk, hen’s egg, and peanut.

Key words: Food allergy, Oral immunotherapy, Cow’s milk, Hen’s egg, Peanut, Desensitization, Tolerance, Sustained Unresponsiveness, Skin prick test (SPT), Immunoglobulin E (IgE), Omalizumab