Oral Food Desensitization Program -- would you do it?

Posted on: Fri, 11/14/2008 - 5:06am
MomtoAsh's picture
Joined: 12/04/2006 - 09:00

Hi all,

I have a 4-yr-old daughter who is anaphylactic to milk, eggs, peanuts, and most tree nuts. I recently found out that a local, very respected allergist has started conducting a food desensitization program similar to those described here: [url="http://sci.tech-archive.net/Archive/sci.med.nutrition/2008-03/msg00064.html"]Severely milk-allergic kids can be desensitized[/url] . The local program is for kids allergic to milk and/or eggs. They are considering adding peanuts next summer. Basically, the program involves administering (under the office's supervision) a very tiny amount of the food (in a solution) to the child and, if the child tolerates it w/o a reaction, gradually increasing the dose over time until the child can tolerate a normal serving of the food.

Before reading this, I had no idea such a program was going on in our area. I called the doctor's office and asked the nurse several questions, and she said that all of the children who have participated (they started in July) and who are currently participating are showing wonderful results and none have had severe reactions. I have also talked to a few parents whose children are in the program and they are raving about how great it is.

So this is quite exciting, right? And yet, for some reason I am hesitant. I mean, I would give anything for my daughter not to be allergic anymore, but I guess I'm scared of "rocking the boat," so to speak, and this treatment is so new that no one is sure of what the long-term effects are. I guess it's because I've been trained never to let her have anything she's allergic to, and now I would be taking her in for the very purpose of feeding her something to which she's allergic. It kinda freaks me out. What would you do?


[url="http://www.foodallergyfamilyfun.blogspot.com"]My family's food allergy blog[/url]

Posted on: Fri, 11/14/2008 - 6:45am
nutty1's picture
Joined: 02/24/2008 - 12:46

I would go for it. It will be done in the allergist office, they will clearly be prepared to handle a reaction should one occurr. I would love to find a doc in my area that is doing that, I have heard about it but don't know a whole lot about it. But hey, if it could help your child to alleviate a food allergy, and its being done in a safe environment, why not do it? What do you have to lose really?

Posted on: Fri, 11/14/2008 - 8:34am
tunibell1974's picture
Joined: 10/30/2008 - 22:32

I would absolutely do it.

Posted on: Sat, 11/15/2008 - 4:07am
GinaC's picture
Joined: 11/11/2006 - 09:00

We have an upcoming article on Sublingual immunotherapy (under the tongue) in our next newsletter (out Tomorrow) I think you are asking about desensitizing with food though right?
I think it really depends a great deal on who is doing it and where they were trained. As you will be able to see in this upcoming article, sublingual immunotherapy can be safe but there are still important precautions.
I just glanced at the link you highlighted but if it involves rush immunotherapy it may entail a higher degree of risk. Even with SLIT the doctors still recommend you carry an epipen but feel that you would have (at least some) protection from anaphylaxis for severe allergies.
Take care,

Posted on: Sat, 11/15/2008 - 10:48am
stella's picture
Joined: 07/06/2007 - 09:00

I have known about the desensitization programs for a while now and have given it a lot of thought. If I were you, I would wait until your daughter is five or six years old before trying this. My understanding is that about 80 - 85% of dairy and egg allergies, if outgrown, are by age 6. I know that some evidence contradicts this, but this is what our allergist still maintains. If your daughter doesn't outgrow naturally by this age, then I would say it's time for "Plan B".
I have read the study they have done in Italy with desensitizing the "superallergic". The kids in that study were not younger than five years old.

Posted on: Sun, 11/16/2008 - 1:37am
MommyOfTwo's picture
Joined: 11/08/2007 - 09:44

I would do it. I would take any opportunity I could to possible rid my child of the allergy. I do understand what the PP is saying about age though. If your child even at 4 can communicate well and you think is ready for this, then I wouldn't hesitate.

Posted on: Sun, 01/25/2009 - 2:58pm
joy's picture
Joined: 02/21/2006 - 09:00

Hi Leigha,
Do you have the info for the allergist who does desensitization in your area? I wanted to contact her to see if she knows of anyone in the Pacific Northwest area that does the same treatement.
I have a daughter who is also allergic to milk, eggs and nuts. I would enroll her in a heartbeat.

Posted on: Fri, 02/13/2009 - 4:00am
Faith3's picture
Joined: 03/27/2008 - 08:48

I was planning on doing this, but someone on another allergy board told me something that scared me so I am not sure anymore:
Check this out carefully.
is this immunotherapy with drops (SLIT) or powders that are the actual foods? I suspect the latter and you really need to be careful.
Are you in Dallas by any chance?
I have a member of my online community who did egg desensitization with her son .This was with a real egg powder.
(Please not this is NOT SLIT)
In any case, he completed it up to one full egg (in powder form) and they declared him as passing the challenge.
He then attempted to eat a real cooked egg at home and had full-blown anaphylaxis and had to go to the ER etc.
So please be careful!...
...PS here is an article on SLIT from the LaCrosse Clinic
http://www.allergymoms.com/uploads/newsletters/allergymoms_newsletter_11... tml#article3

Posted on: Fri, 02/13/2009 - 4:02am
Faith3's picture
Joined: 03/27/2008 - 08:48

I just realized she said the powder was the one he reacted to... so I guess the SLIT is okay then? If so, we are definitely doing it.

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