A recent study showed some success in treating milk-allergic asthmatics with oral immunotherapy.
The authors suggested that future studies include people with asthma. That's because people with food allergies and asthma have a higher risk for anaphylaxis and fatal reactions.
In research, people with moderate to severe asthma are often excluded from food allergy studies.
These researchers sought to determine how patients with asthma receiving milk oral immunotherapy (MOIT) would fare, as well as their long-term outcome.
The study enrolled 280 children at an Israeli medical center. Of those, 101 had asthma.
Milk powder was mixed with water and given in increasing doses over a period of time, with the goal of eventually reaching 7,200 mg of cows milk protein (CMP).
The researchers said that patients with asthma had more complications than patients without asthma. They could not tolerate as high a starting dose as the other patients. Also, they were more likely to have reactions that needed epinephrine.
They were also less likely to achieve the full dose required to achieve complete desensitization to milk.
However, 86% of the 101 asthmatic patients reached a dose that would protect them against accidental ingestion of milk.
Of the patients who reached full desensitization to milk, 112 were followed for over two years. Of that group, some had asthma and some did not. Of both groups, over half had mild reactions to continued consumption to CMP. More asthmatic patients (6) than non-asthmatic patients (3) needed epinephrine.
The researchers pointed out that the epinephrine was sometimes used for mild reactions. None of those reactions stopped anyone from continuing OIT long term.
The study was reported in the March 2015 issue of Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology.
Immunotherapy for food allergies is considered experimental. Click here for research updates from KFA’s Medical Advisory Team.