Food Allergy Treatment

Get Started with Oral Immunotherapy

Having a food allergy can be incredibly stressful, not only for the person with the allergy, but also for family and friends. No one wants to constantly worry about whether a meal has a specific allergen in it. And many people often resort to avoiding foods – sometimes more than they need to – just to stay safe. 

But avoidance is no longer the only answer if a food allergy is diagnosed. At Latitude Food Allergy Care, we are able to help people take control of food allergies with treatment options like oral immunotherapy (OIT).  

Oral immunotherapy can protect against accidental exposures to food allergens and improve quality of life. Research has proven OIT to not only be safe but also approximately 85% effective when performed under the care of a clinician who specializes in food allergy treatment. We offer OIT to multiple allergens for adults and children as young as 12 months old. Xolair is also available to our patients over 4 years old.

Latitude was founded by food allergic families who understand how confusing and stressful living with allergies can be. We know accidents happen at social events, restaurants, or school — no matter how many labels you read, or how many foods you prepare, or the questions you ask. Our lives have been changed by our own children being treated with OIT, and we created Latitude to help others benefit from our experiences.

What is Oral Immunotherapy (OIT)?

Oral Immunotherapy is a food allergy treatment that regularly exposes the patient to increasing amounts of the foods they are allergic to, with the goal of desensitizing the body and protecting against severe reaction to accidental exposures. Over time, OIT retrains the immune system to decrease adverse reactions to a specific protein or allergen. This can provide a dramatic improvement in quality of life by avoiding life-threatening exposures and decreasing stress and worry. OIT can also reduce dietary restrictions, empowering patients to enjoy a fuller – and more satisfying – range of culinary options. When treatment is administered under the care of an expert clinical team, OIT is safe for patients of all ages, including toddlers and young children. 

We offer OIT for single and multiple food allergies to any food, including common allergens such as egg, milk, peanut, tree nuts, wheat, soy, seafood, sesame and other seeds. Our clinical team will determine whether you are a good candidate for oral immunotherapy, by evaluating your medical history, symptoms and reactions, and your family’s lifestyle to ensure that your OIT treatment is as safe and as effective as possible.

At Latitude, our food allergy treatment can be customized to meet your unique healthcare needs. We offer OIT, with and without Xolair, and we are among the first clinics to offer Palforzia — the first FDA-approved OIT treatment for peanut allergy. 

Oral Immunotherapy Experience

Lily, mom of an OIT patient: Highly recommended. And as we go through the OIT process we have seen them for almost a year now. We feel SO LUCKY to have found them…Their offices are the epitome of what you would want your allergic kid to experience at an allergist.

Is Oral Immunotherapy Safe?

Oral immunotherapy may sound challenging or even scary, particularly for patients who have experienced severe allergic reactions in the past. Yet, when conducted under the guidance of a trained clinician, OIT is both safe and effective in treating food allergies. 

Importantly, OIT should never be attempted without clinical supervision. At Latitude, we develop a customized plan for our patients based on medical history and risk profiles. Reactions can occur during OIT, but are usually limited to rashes, hives, itching, or stomach upset. Your initial doses will be consumed under the close supervision of our clinical team to ensure that any allergic reaction is resolved immediately. For ongoing, at-home care, our clinical team will work hand-in-hand with you to ensure that you are taking the correct doses and minimizing any adverse reactions.

What does the process look like?

Diagnostic Process

An accurate diagnosis of persistent IgE-mediated food allergies is the first step to treatment. Our clinicians will design a customized treatment plan based on the foods that you are truly allergic to as well as your personal needs. We will jointly work through a shared decision-making process regarding your desensitization goals.

Initial Dosing

The first dose of OIT is introduced as a series of very small amounts of the food(s) under close supervision in our clinic. You will be closely monitored to ensure that the dose does not elicit a reaction. At home, you will eat this initial dose every day until the updose visit.

Updosing

Dosing is generally increased every two weeks. Updose appointments (~1 hour) take place in the clinic under clinician supervision. You will continue to take the current dose everyday in between clinic visits.This active treatment phase, with regular clinic appointments, usually takes 6-12 months.

Maintenance

Once safely reaching the “maintenance” level, a patient will continue to consume the foods daily to maintain their desensitization. Long-term dosing helps patients achieve a life-changing level of protection, resulting in reduced anxiety around food and improvement in quality of life. Latitude supports patients in long-term maintenance with periodic testing and dose calibration.

Evidence-Based Protocols in Oral Immunotherapy

Thousands of patients have safely completed oral immunotherapy around the world. Latitude uses evidence-based protocols that are based on clinical studies from leading research institutions such as Stanford, UCSF, Duke, Baylor and others. Learn more about recent OIT research and protocols in the studies below: 

Evidence-based protocols not only provide the most innovative research and development, but they also create a blueprint for effective, safe, and patient-centered allergy care. See additional published studies on oral immunotherapy in our FAQs.

How to Start Oral Immunotherapy

The best way to begin oral immunotherapy is to seek an experienced care team. At Latitude, our OIT patients start with a full examination and assessment to clarify their food allergies. One of our goals is to determine — with certainty — whether the patient has a food allergy or is suffering from a food sensitivity. While a food sensitivity may cause general discomfort, a food allergy will stimulate an immune system response. This immune system response could become life-threatening in severe cases, and may require the use of an epinephrine auto-injector. Learn more about food allergy testing and more about the differences between food allergies and food sensitivities.

To be a candidate for OIT, patients must have a confirmed diagnosis of an IgE-mediated food allergy. With a clear diagnosis and an in-depth discussion about the commitment and expectations of OIT, your clinician will create a personalized treatment plan that is right for you and your family. 

What Happens When I Complete Oral Immunotherapy?

Oral Immunotherapy is a unique therapy that aims to bring patients to a “maintenance” phase. In other words, while your active treatment phase of OIT will eventually reach a stopping point, your at-home dosing is ongoing. Our goal is to help get your immune system to a safe desensitization point. At this point, your allergist will work with you to build a plan to continue oral immunotherapy at home by consuming small amounts of a “maintenance dose” of your allergens each day. This will ensure that your immune system remains desensitized and provides ongoing protection against accidental exposure.

While you may be ingesting powders or flours in the early stages of the active treatment phase, by the time you reach maintenance, your dose will consist of the actual food. For example, if you are undergoing OIT for peanut allergy, during the maintenance phase, you will be instructed to eat a specific amount of peanuts each day. 

Stopping your at-home maintenance dosing without clinician guidance can be dangerous, as your body might lose some of the tolerance it has built up. You may need to rebuild your immune system tolerance by consuming progressively larger doses over time before safely restarting your maintenance dose. To safely maintain your desensitization and protection from accidental exposure, you will need to consume small doses of the allergen(s) daily. Talk to your allergist to learn more about what’s involved once you move to your maintenance phase. 

Get started with Oral Immunotherapy

Are you or someone you love impacted by a food allergy? Improve your quality of life and unlock a better future with Latitude Food Allergy Care. Latitude offers comprehensive food allergy care, including diagnosis, treatment, and prevention, for children, babies, and adults. Contact us today to schedule a no-obligation conversation with one of our Patient Care Coordinators.

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