Oral immunotherapy for food allergy
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- Tang, M.L.K. Curr Allergy Asthma Rep (2009) 9: 43. doi:10.1007/s11882-009-0007-4
Current management of food allergy involves strict avoidance, education on recognizing and managing allergic reactions, and carrying an adrenaline autoinjector. This approach is burdensome and associated with reduced quality of life. Patients with food allergy would benefit greatly from a treatment that could achieve desensitization or long-term tolerance. Recent studies have shown that oral immunotherapy (OIT) can induce desensitization and modulate allergen-specific immune responses; however, it remains uncertain whether OIT can induce long-term tolerance. Nevertheless, successful desensitization provides a major advance in management by reducing the risk of reaction to low amounts of allergen. Allergic reactions during OIT are common, although severe reactions are less common. Therefore, OIT should be performed in specialist centers under close medical supervision and would ideally be conducted as part of ongoing research studies. OIT holds promise as a novel approach to managing food allergy.