OIT is a process that involves the slow oral introduction of the allergenic food in gradually increasing amounts, similar to the process and method of allergy shots for environmental allergies. Typically, over a period of several months, the patient’s immune system becomes more tolerant and less sensitive to the food they are allergic to. After several months of treatment, most patients who undergo this treatment are able to consume these foods with no allergic reaction. Although the protocol has been most studied in peanut allergy, it can be applied to most foods including tree nuts, milk, and egg.
Because food allergies can be life-threatening, oral immunotherapy should only be administered under the supervision and guidance of a Board-Certified Allergist specifically trained on how to provide this therapy in a safe and effective manner.
It is important to note that this treatment is not appropriate for all patients. Prior to pursuing OIT, patients will be evaluated to determine if they are candidates or if further testing and work up will be necessary before being able to pursue this treatment option.