A. The primary goal of the OIT process is to safely desensitize patients to allergenic food(s). Successful achievement of this goal ultimately provides patients freedom from label reading and strict avoidance of allergenic foods, as well as the ability to safely consume foods without concern for reaction.
A. Our typical protocol takes about 20 weeks for a patient to progress from strict avoidance of allergenic foods to eating a full serving size. Protocol adjustments are made based on the patient's schedule and response to the previous weeks’ dose.
A. The minimum age of a prospective OIT candidate is approximately four years old, depending on the patient. We prefer that our patients are able to verbally communicate any symptoms they experience during the desensitization process. There is no upper age limit for patients undergoing OIT.
A. Patients with very severe food allergies are able to participate in our OIT program. We have had patients with food specific IgE levels >100 who have safely and successfully completed OIT.
A. We are currently able to treat patients with allergies to peanut, tree nuts, egg, milk, soy and sesame. Our ability to offer other foods may depend on patient need, and can be discussed at your visit.
A. We will review any previously obtained skin or blood test results. Further testing may be required, which will be determined individually for each patient.
A. Yes, patients are able undergo OIT for multiple foods at one time.
A. Both our protocol and PalforziaⓇ are forms of oral immunotherapy, or desensitization, to peanut. However, one of the main differences is that our patients transition to ingesting the whole food (ie: grocery store peanuts) during our process as opposed to being reliant on a medication or capsule. Additionally, our protocol is designed to allow not only for accidental ingestion without risk of severe reaction, but also for patients to be able to freely eat peanut products, if desired, eliminating the need to read labels. Treatment with PalforziaⓇ requires patients to maintain daily dosing for life, while continuing label reading to ensure strict avoidance of peanut products.
A. No, our patients are able to maintain their desensitization by eating prescribed amounts of the whole food. For example, a patient who has undergone peanut OIT will be eating grocery store peanuts at home to maintain their desensitization.
A. Side effects with OIT are usually mild and may consist of mouth itching, throat itching, mild rash (hives) and abdominal discomfort. Severe reactions, while rare, are possible, including anaphylaxis. Patients undergoing OIT must continue to carry their epinephrine auto-injector at all times. Some patients may develop a condition called eosinophilic esophagitis or EoE. EoE occurs when the lining of the esophagus becomes sensitive to allergenic foods. Symptoms may include nausea, heartburn, vomiting, abdominal cramping and/or pain. These symptoms typically resolve with dose adjustments or discontinuation of OIT. It is important to note that we adjust each patient's OIT schedule as needed based on the development of any symptoms.
A. Yes, we are happy to work with people from all over Michigan and neighboring states. We can adjust dosing schedules to help make oral immunotherapy a possibility for you, but all up-dosing visits must be conducted in our office.
A. You do not need to change allergists. You may continue to see your current allergist, but all aspects of your OIT program will be managed by our staff, and all OIT appointments will be conducted in our office.
A. Yes. However, allergy shots will be given on a different day than oral immunotherapy “up-dosing.”
A. We understand that life happens and are happy to work with you if a week needs to be rescheduled. If you are still dosing with capsules or dilutions we will provide an adequate supply to last until your next appointment.
A. Yes. However, asthma needs to be well controlled prior to starting OIT.
A. Our current protocol involves patients taking a daily dose of allergenic food(s) to maintain desensitization, though this is not a cure. If a patient stops eating the food they were desensitized to they may experience a reaction should they ingest it in the future. As with many areas of medicine, food allergy science is still changing and expanding. Monitoring advancing science and remaining closely connected to others in this field allows us to alter our practices as needed based on new recommendations as well as our patients’ specific requirements.
A. We require all of our patients to be up-to-date on all scheduled vaccines prior to starting the oral immunotherapy program.
A. Yes, if you have additional questions or would simply like to connect with current or graduate OIT patients we would be happy to arrange communication.
A. Cost is dependent on each patient's specific insurance plan. Weekly visits will be billed to insurance but there will be out-of-pocket costs as well, particularly during the initial desensitization process. Financial aspects will be discussed in more detail at your initial consultation, or you may contact our office with questions.
A. Schedule your initial OIT consultation today!