Exciting peanut oral immunotherapy (OIT) updates!
Oral immunotherapy, or OIT, is a form of immunotherapy that involves taking small doses of an allergenic food daily. This process does not cure the food allergy but allows an individual to gradually be desensitized to the food and tolerate it in their diet. The food must be eaten daily in order to maintain this desensitized state. This type of oral immunotherapy has been documented for over 100 years in medical literature.
However, recent studies and interest have made this type of therapy more mainstream. Colorado Allergy & Asthma Centers® is currently offering peanut oral immunotherapy through our own protocol adapted from the work and experience of our well-respected colleagues. In addition, the Food and Drug administration (FDA) in United States recently approved Palforzia, a peanut OIT product.
One study showed that individuals who underwent peanut OIT continued to have improvement in efficacy, safety, and tolerability the longer they were on therapy. 80% of participants who continued daily dosing of 300 mg of peanut (about 1 peanut) for 2 years tolerated over 4,000 mg of peanut protein during an exit food challenge. To put this in perspective, that is approximately 13 peanuts or half of a peanut butter sandwich.
Our goal with OIT is to provide protection against accidental ingestions. This study demonstrates that even a small daily dose of peanut can provide more than adequate protection! Patients will still continue to avoid peanut outside their daily dose and need to carry their epinephrine auto-injector. OIT is not a cure for peanut allergy but it does open up food options. Once patients are on their maintenance dose they are allowed to consume foods with the precautionary labels, such as may contain or processed in the same facility as peanut. In addition, multiple studies have demonstrated an improvement in quality of life scores in patients after starting OIT.
We are now offering tree nut OIT and will be launching egg OIT in the near future. Please contact your allergist if you would like to learn more about oral immunotherapy.