Provided by: Roger Friedman, MD (Allergist/Immunologist)
Oral Immunotherapy, also called OIT, has been a life-changing therapy for patients, parents and physicians. Food allergies have been dramatically increasing over the last 25 years and affect 8% of the population. Most concerning has been the severe food allergies, especially to peanuts and tree nuts.
One year ago, we began a program at Ohio ENT and Allergy Physicians for OIT. Since that time, we have enrolled 50 patients, and seven of them are now graduates of the program.
There are three parts to the program; Day-one; in which the patient spends about five hours with us receiving increasing microscopic quantities of the food they are allergic to. The patient then continues to eat the final day-one dose at home for the next 1-2 weeks. They then return for an up-dose at the office. This continues for about 6-8 months. Eventually, our patients reach a maintenance dose of between 2-8 peanuts or tree nuts a day.
Although the patient is not cured, they are desensitized, and it is much safer for them, especially if they inadvertently ingest a small quantity of their allergy. We have now expanded the treatment to include other foods such as egg and wheat. The treatment involves a great deal of time and effort for the families and our healthcare providers but has been incredibly rewarding for everyone, and we are finally on the road to making the world a safer place for food-allergic patients.