Oral Immunotherapy for Food Allergies

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Oral immunotherapy (OIT) is a promising investigational therapy for food allergy. Clinical trials in peanut, milk, egg, and wheat allergy provide evidence that OIT can effectively desensitize a majority of individuals to a food allergen. While a portion of subjects demonstrate sustained unresponsiveness, the majority regain sensitivity with allergen avoidance. The safety and tolerability of OIT continue to limit its use in some patients. Virtually all studies report adverse reactions that are more frequent during dose escalation but may also occur during maintenance therapy. Recent studies have identified adjunctive therapies (such as omalizumab) which may mitigate adverse effects. There is a paucity of data on the long-term safety and efficacy of OIT. Further study is required before OIT is ready for routine clinical practice. This review is intended to provide the reader with an up-to-date understanding of OIT, including its mechanisms, efficacy, safety profile, and potential utility in clinical practice.

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