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Oral and Sublingual Immunotherapy for Treatment of IgE-Mediated Food Allergy

  • Amy M. Scurlock
Article

Abstract

Development of active therapies for IgE-mediated food allergy is a critical action step toward alleviating the adverse medical, psychosocial, and economic burdens on affected patients and families. Significant progress has been observed specifically in the application of single-allergen oral and sublingual immunotherapy for treatment of IgE-mediated food allergy, with emphasis on milk, egg, and peanut as the primary allergens. Oral immunotherapy (OIT) has demonstrated efficacy in promoting immunomodulatory effects that lead to the clinical outcome of desensitization, defined as reduced reactivity while on active OIT, in the majority of treated individuals; however, achievement of sustained unresponsiveness following cessation of therapy has been observed in a smaller subset of treated subjects. The potential therapeutic benefits of OIT must be carefully considered in light of the significant potential for adverse events ranging from self-limited or easily treated oropharyngeal, respiratory or gastrointestinal symptoms, to persistent abdominal complaints that lead to cessation of therapy in an estimated 10–15% of treated individuals. To date, the majority of studies have focused on single-allergen OIT approaches; however, multi-allergen OIT has shown promise in initial trials and is the subject of ongoing investigation to address the complex needs of multi-food allergic individuals. Sublingual immunotherapy (SLIT) has been utilized for the treatment of food allergy and pollen-food allergy syndrome, demonstrating moderate efficacy, a favorable safety profile and variable tolerability, with oropharyngeal symptoms most commonly observed. Although studies directly comparing OIT and SLIT are limited, in general, the favorable safety profile associated with SLIT comes at the expense of reduced efficacy, while the more robust clinical effects observed with OIT come at the risk of potentially intolerable, treatment-limiting side effects. Future investigation to address specific knowledge gaps including optimal dose, duration, age of initiation, maintenance schedule, mechanisms, predictors of risk and therapeutic response will be important to maximize efficacy, minimize risk and develop personalized, effective approaches to targeting food allergy.

Keywords

Food allergy Specific IgE Desensitization Sustained unresponsiveness Oral tolerance Management IgE-mediated food allergy Oral food challenges Oral immunotherapy Sublingual immunotherapy 

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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PediatricsUniversity of Arkansas for Medical Sciences and Arkansas Children’s HospitalLittle RockUSA

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