“Peanut desensitization or Oral Immunotherapy (OIT) protocols have been around for several years,” says Daniel F. Soteres, MD, MPH of Asthma and Allergy Associates, PC in Colorado Springs. “Here at Asthma & Allergy Associates I’ve been doing these protocols for at least 7 years. It’s very fulfilling.”
Dr. Soteres has many patients that he’s successfully treated over the years. Nora Suntken is one his patients that no longer shows a reaction to peanuts. In the late summer/fall of 2011, Dr. Soteres began the process of desensitization with Nora, who was 10 years old and in the 6th grade. She reached her maintenance dose of four peanuts/ twice a day the following spring. She and her family moved to Ohio the summer of 2012 and Nora continued to ‘take’ her peanuts daily. This past summer her CNA did her yearly testing on Nora and her testing no longer showed a reaction to peanuts. Her mother, Anne Suntken says, “We are so thankful you were in our lives just at the right time. Nora is now 20 and will be a senior in college this coming fall. Since reaching maintenance dose in 2012, she has not had a single peanut-related allergy event. That is because of you (Dr. Soteres) … we are eternally grateful, Ann Suntken.”
The first successful studies for peanut desensitization protocols came out of North Carolina with Dr. Wesley Burkes. Now the studies are being replicated all over the world. Most recently a group of physicians published an article in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology reporting their experience with ‘Oral Immunotherapy for Peanut Allergy.’ They report that 85 percent of patients (n=352) achieved the target dose of peanut. From a total of 352 patients and 240,351 doses there were 95 reactions that required epinephrine. Most of the reactions occurred during a period of close observation after the dose was given.
Now the news has been reported in the Los Angeles Times and the Wall Street Journal, “Kids with Peanut Allergies Get Some Relief, Study Finds.” The articles focus on a publication in The Lancet out of the United Kingdom. This study included 99 children, age 7 to 16. For half of the kids they gave an escalating dose of peanut protein during a 26 week period. The other half were placed in the control group and they continued to avoid peanuts. Most adverse reaction were mild like oral itching which was the most common. After 6 months, 80 percent of the kids could tolerate up to 5 peanuts per day and 62 percent of the kids could tolerate up to 10 peanuts per day.
What are the risks?
“The most common side effects include oral itching during the build-up phase and abdominal pain. Of course there is a risk of more severe reactions and we have seen that in a few patients.”
What are the long-term results?
“The long term efficacy of Oral Immunotherapy for food allergies is unproven. In fact in some studies when the daily peanut dose is stopped, up to 80 percent of patients return to being allergic to peanuts. So, if you decide to do OIT for peanut allergy then understand that the plan is to continue the protocol for a long time.”
At Asthma & Allergy Associates in Colorado Springs, Dr. Daniel F. Soteres has performed Oral Immunotherapy or Peanut Desensitization for many patients.
If you want to learn more, just call Dr. Soteres and the other food allergy doctors at AACOS in Colorado Springs for a consultation today!