What is OIT?
For over 50 years, Alabama Allergy & Asthma Center has been committed to patient safety and offering innovative care to our patients to improve their quality of life. Our Food Allergy Treatment Center at Alabama Allergy & Asthma Center is led by our board certified allergist Dr. Carolyn Comer. Our Center’s goal is to improve the quality of life for patients and their families living with a food allergy, and help them obtain a lifetime of freedom from food allergy fear and stress.
Until recently, the only treatment option for patients with food allergy was strict avoidance and having epinephrine available for accidental exposure and emergencies. Today, we can desensitize patients to food allergens using a procedure known as oral immunotherapy (OIT) – where patients are fed small incremental amounts of the food proteins to which they are allergic.
We currently offer oral immunotherapy (OIT) protocols for food allergies to adults and children ages four and up.
Oral immunotherapy (OIT) or oral desensitization is a medical treatment which retrains the immune system to become desensitized to food allergens. Under the supervision of a board certified allergist, gradually increasing doses of the food are orally introduced (no injections) through regular ingestion of food proteins at gradually increasing doses. Dosing is increased under one-on-one monitoring in the office every week for six to seven months on average, and can be individualized for the patient as needed. An at home maintenance dose is continued indefinitely to protect patients from accidental ingestion or cross contamination, and many patients freely add tree nuts and peanuts into their diet.
Oral immunotherapy has been offered since 1984, and extensively researched in an academic setting with proven success.
The Food Allergy Treatment Center is committed to patient safety and making it their first priority. Total focus is on the patient to ensure they are monitored throughout the process. OIT up dosing is only performed in our designated office space, with one-on-one monitoring by our OIT medical staff that is appropriately trained with equipment readily available to treat anaphylaxis.