4 March 2020:
Oral immunotherapy (OIT) is a potential treatment for food allergy. It involves giving gradually increasing amounts of food allergen under medical supervision and continued daily consumption of the food allergen. If the goal of desensitisation is reached, there is a temporary increase in the amount of food allergen that can be consumed before an allergic reaction occurs.
OIT is an emerging treatment, and there are no OIT products for food allergies registered by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) in Australia or Medsafe in New Zealand. One OIT product for peanut allergy (PalforziaTM developed by the company Aimmune Therapeutics) has received Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval for use in the USA in 2020.
ASCIA OIT for food allergy information for patients, consumers and carers has been updated and is now available on the ASCIA website www.allergy.org.au/patients/allergy-treatment/oral-immunotherapy-for-food-allergy
The main updates include:
- An expanded introduction which mentions the OIT product recently approved by the FDA.
- Information about another recently published OIT meta-analysis of OIT for peanut allergy Scientific Reports publication: https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-019-56961-3 in addition to the Lancet publication www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(19)30420-9/fulltext
It is important to note that current OIT methods are not a cure for food allergy. There are concerns about potential harm of OIT for food allergy outweighing the benefits in some people with severe food allergy, as well as considerable cost implications. This applies to OIT products that are registered as well as OIT used in clinical trials.
The benefits and harms of different forms of OIT are still being studied in clinical trials in Australia and globally. More data needs to be collected about safety, tolerability, cost-effectiveness, quality of life and long term outcomes.