Managing food allergy in childhood

aDivision of Rheumatology, Allergy and Immunology, Department of Medicine bDepartment of Pediatrics, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA.
Current opinion in pediatrics (Impact Factor: 2.74). 08/2012; 24(5):615-20. DOI: 10.1097/MOP.0b013e32835741e3
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT This study reviews the newest developments on experimental therapies for the treatment of food allergy.
Epitope studies and microarray technology promise to improve the accuracy of diagnostic testing and may allow the prediction of reaction severity and the likelihood of allergy resolution. The regular ingestion of small amounts of food in oral immunotherapy (OIT) has been shown to dramatically increase reaction thresholds. However, a subset of patients have developed significant gastrointestinal symptoms requiring discontinuation of the treatment. A similar treatment given sublingually has appeared safer than OIT, but has also shown a less robust effect. Ingestion of extensively heated foods seems to accelerate the natural resolution of milk and egg allergy. The injectable anti-IgE therapy omalizumab has been shown to benefit in conjunction with OIT and preliminary data has suggested that it may also be effective as monotherapy. The Chinese herbal formula FAHF-2 has been shown to suppress anaphylaxis from single and multiple food allergies in mice, and early human studies have shown that it is well tolerated.
Improved testing should allow more accurate diagnosis of food allergy. For these patients, treatments are on the horizon, but further studies are needed to determine long-term safety and efficacy.

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