Food Desensitization Programs
The New England Food Allergy Treatment Center desensitizes patients with peanut, tree nut, milk, egg, chickpea, sunflower, wheat, and sesame allergies using a procedure known as oral immunotherapy (OIT) where patients are fed small incremental amounts of food proteins to which they are allergic. We are now offering Sublingual Immunotherapy (SLIT) for food allergy desensitization, as well. SLIT uses lower doses of allergen in drops placed under the tongue, and helps reach a level of desensitization to protect against accidental exposures of food allergens.
Until recently, the only treatment for food allergic patients has been strict avoidance of these foods and carrying injections of epinephrine in the event of an accidental ingestion. Today there is exciting and effective treatment available for the majority of peanut, tree nut, milk, egg, chickpea, sunflower, wheat, and sesame allergic patients. It is called allergen immunotherapy, OIT or SLIT, and in our carefully controlled clinical setting we have safely desensitized children and adults who are allergic to these foods.
We offer multi-food OIT and SLIT, which means combining multiple allergens at the same time. OIT for milk, wheat, and egg are done individually and cannot be combined with another food. Every patient’s treatment plan is individualized, and our providers will work with you to determine the best OIT or SLIT plan.
Allergen immunotherapy provides protection against accidental ingestion and cross contamination. After the completion of the OIT and SLIT protocol, if allergic patients are accidentally exposed to these foods, they should not experience a severe allergic reaction, if any at all. Many patients can eventually consume as much of these foods as they would like while on treatment.
The Patient Need
Many patients feel ‘trapped’ by not only the inability to eat certain foods, but also the worry or anxiety that a triggering allergen may unknowingly be present in any food. Just knowing that a tiny amount of an allergic ingredient could create a serious medical problem is an uncomfortable and frightening feeling, to say the least. Our goal is to minimize or eliminate that food related fear and danger.
Patients initially ingest very small amounts of the food that they are allergic to at the New England Food Allergy Treatment Center. This dose is increased over approximately 8-10 months and will allow the patient to consume a predetermined amount of peanut, tree nut, milk, egg, chickpea, sunflower, wheat, and sesame. There are no uncomfortable shots involved. Everything is done orally. We have desensitized thousands of food allergic patients to date with a 85% success rate in reaching a maintenance dose.
Patient Safety is Paramount
Patient safety is of utmost concern. Our entire facility– including staff and equipment – are dedicated exclusively to the treatment of food allergies. We have over 10 years of experience in food allergy immunotherapies and continue to be involved in peer-to-peer conversations with our colleagues and at medical conferences.
Initially we began with treating only peanut and were rigorously involved in an IRB approved protocol and study. This provided our clinic with extensive experience with oral immunotherapy and provides confidence to patients and referring physicians that we have addressed safety concerns and follow evidence based scientific standards.
For More Information
We welcome the opportunity to discuss our Center’s protocols and procedures with you. Simply contact us to schedule a consultation. We look forward to hearing from you!
Additional information about OIT and SLIT can be found in our frequently asked questions, resources, and results sections of our website. You can also download our free flyer that contains the top 10 most common fallacies about peanut allergies or use one of the links below to download a free NEFATC Center brochure that contains an overview of our facilities, professional team and information about our food allergy desensitization programs.