Is Oral Immunotherapy Right for Me?

Jul 01, 2023
Is Oral Immunotherapy Right for Me?
Oral immunotherapy is a great treatment solution when it comes to managing food allergies. However, it may not be suitable for everyone. Continue reading to find out who qualifies for this allergy treatment.

Oral immunotherapy is a treatment used to manage allergic reactions to certain foods. It involves ingesting a microscopic amount of the food allergen at increasingly higher doses over time. The goal is to slowly build up the threshold that triggers an allergic reaction. This therapy can introduce remission of the food allergy.

Food allergies happen when your body’s immune system reacts to certain foods as if they were harmful to your body. While there is no cure for food allergies, oral immunotherapy has been effective in helping the management of allergic reactions to certain foods. However, oral immunotherapy may not be right for everyone.

At Allergy and Asthma Institute of SE Michigan located in Farmington Hills, Michigan, Chad W. Mayer, DO, FAAAAI, FAAP, and Ronda Barak-Norris, MD, FACAA, and the rest of our team offer oral immunotherapy as a way to help improve your allergy symptoms. In this blog, we discuss more about immunotherapy and who’s a good candidate for it.  We are the leading providers of OIT offering therapy for 14 years, and have treated over 1,300 patients to date.  Dr Mayer was the first provider offering OIT in the midwest and one of the first 12 doctors in the country.  

Understanding oral immunotherapy

Oral immunotherapy is a treatment where you’re given a certain type of food allergen in increasingly higher doses over a set period of time. After a predetermined threshold is met, you maintain the same dose.

So, if you’re allergic to peanuts, you’re given a very small amount of a peanut allergen that won’t cause an allergic reaction. This dose is then slowly increased. Once you reach a set threshold when you no longer have an allergic reaction to a certain dosage of the peanut allergen, you consume it every day to maintain it.

The goal is to consume a certain amount of the food you’re allergic to without having a severe reaction. This way, in case you accidentally ingest that food, you won’t be in immediate danger or need to feel panicked.

Who qualifies for oral immunotherapy?

Oral immunotherapy will work for any food. The goal is to improve quality of life. So, as long as treating a food will make it easier and safer to navigate eating we can treat it.  

To qualify for oral immunotherapy, you’ll also need to have a confirmed food allergy. If you aren’t actually diagnosed with a food allergy, you’ll have to undergo food allergy testing. There is no one too allergic to be treated.  Oral Immunotherapy is effective at any age.  Studies and experience have shown the younger a person starts the better.  We have treated patients from 7 months of age to the oldest patient starting at 49 years of age. At Allergy and Asthma Institute of SE Michigan, we use history, skin prick testing and IgE testing and oral food challenges to properly diagnose food allergies.

Next steps

If you have a diagnosed food allergy, and you need to diminish the severity of your allergic reaction, oral immunotherapy might be the right next step for you. To learn if you’re a good candidate for oral immunotherapy, contact our team to set up an appointment, which you can do over the phone or online today.