Non-Invasive Treatment for Food Allergies in Our Local AreaMar 31, 2021 09:04PM ● By Maeve O'Connor
Oral immunotherapy (OIT) or oral desensitization for food allergies is a non-invasive medical treatment guided by a board-certified allergist resulting in a lifetime freedom from food fear and stress for the patient. The immune system is retrained to tolerate food proteins/allergens through regular eating of small amounts of food.
OIT dates back to medieval times, when kings would ingest tiny bits of arsenic to protect themselves from being poisoned, and has been studied in modern clinical trials for more than a decade. Allergy shots, used since 1911, are a form of immunotherapy and desensitization called subcutaneous immunotherapy (SCIT), with a strong track record of safely desensitizing people from environmental allergies.
OIT has a better than 85 percent success rate in clinical trials of patients with a documented Ige-mediated food allergy. Two contraindications are previous eosinophilic esophagitis or uncontrolled asthma. An allergist must approve the protocol and 84 percent of patients have insurance coverage for this treatment.
The key to understanding OIT is that there is low level of allergen an allergic person can safely eat without a reaction. It’s invisible to the body. Then it’s raised slightly and the body still doesn’t react. The threshold of tolerance is gradually increased over time. The immune and digestive systems adapt as they are meant to do.
According to the Food Allergy Support Team (fastoit.org), more than 80 percent of patients treated with OIT can safely consume foods that once threatened their health. The life-changing results experienced by successful OIT patients has given both parents and children new hope and inspiration.
Maeve O’Connor, M.D., FACAAI, FAAAAI, FACP, is the founder of Allergy Asthma & Immunology Relief of Charlotte, an OIT specialist and a board member of Food Allergy Support Team (FAST). For appointments or more information, call 704-910-1402, email [email protected] or visit AAIRofCharlotte.com.