"An asthma drug accelerates the process of desensitizing patients with food allergies to several foods at the same time, a new study by researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine and Lucile Packard Children's Hospital Stanford shows."
Oral immunotherapy (OIT) of food allergens desensitizes patients by building up a tolerance for the allergen after ingesting it in tiny, gradually increasing doses until the patient can tolerate it without an allergic reaction. It can be a very long process and is done under a doctor's supervision in a hospital setting. OIT is not a common practice in allergy clinics as it is still being researched and investigated, and the risks need to be carefully weighed with the benefits. OIT to one food allergen can take as long as three years to complete.
A new study has found hope for those who suffer multiple food allergies.
Stanford researchers paired the asthma drug omalizumab (brand name Xolair) with oral immunotherapy to several food allergens at once and found patients became desensitized at a median of 18 weeks vs 85 weeks for patients without the drug.
They also found a "bystander effect" in some patients who desensitized to related allergens that were not included in their immunotherapy (e.g. desensitized to walnut, but were only receiving OIT for pecans).
Dr. Kari Nadeau, associate professor of pediatrics and immunologist at Stanford Hospital and Clinics and Lucile Packard Children's Hospital is the senior author of the study.
Stanford University Medical Center. (2014, February 28). Asthma drug aids simultaneous desensitization to several food allergies, study finds. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 1, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/.../02/140228121349.htm