Oral Immunotherapy

Adult & Pediatric Allergy and Immunology services offered in Houston, TX
Oral Immunotherapy

Oral Immunotherapy services offered in Houston, TX

Oral immunotherapy provides a safe and effective treatment for specific food allergies. At Complete Allergy and Asthma in Houston, Texas, allergy and immunology specialists Niti Chokshi, MD, and Brian Tison, MD, use oral immunotherapy to help children and adults strengthen their immunity, reducing the risk of potentially severe allergic reactions. Call Complete Allergy and Asthma today to schedule treatment for food allergies, or book your appointment online.

Oral Immunotherapy Q&A

I’m allergic to peanuts. Should I consider oral immunotherapy (OIT)?

Yes. If you have one (or several) food allergies, oral immunotherapy reduces your risk of life threatening allergy reactions. Oral immunotherapy doesn’t cure food allergies but desensitizes your immune system to the foods that cause allergic reactions.

Because some food allergies are life-threatening, oral immunotherapy provides an extra line of defense. Treatment significantly reduces the risk of anaphylaxis, a potentially life-threatening allergic reaction that affects your breathing and heart rate.

Which allergies benefit from oral immunotherapy?

Complete Allergy and Asthma uses oral immunotherapy to treat several major food allergens, including:

  • Peanuts
  • Treenuts
  • Sesame
  • Milk
  • Eggs
  • Wheat
  • Soy
  • Coconut
  • Fish
  • Shellfish
  • Protocols can also be created for any life-threatening food allergies

After reviewing your medical records, completing a physical exam, and doing allergy testing (skin testing and blood testing), your Complete Allergy and Asthma provider develops a personalized oral immunotherapy treatment plan.

What does oral immunotherapy involve?

At Complete Allergy and Asthma, oral immunotherapy is a three-step process:

Step one — Initial dose escalation

This day is typically a 4-5 hour visit.  You (or your child) will recieve very small doses of the food you are allergic to.  Every dose is about 30 minutes apart and the doses will increase throughout the day.  Once you have recieved your final dose, you are monitored for 1 hour in case of an allergic reaction. Typically, you will go home on the last tolerated dose.  You will be monitored very closely through the visit in case of an allergic reaction.

Step two — Up-dosing

After the first treatment, your Complete Allergy and Asthma provider creates a personalized schedule for up-dosing. The up-dosing phase is typically 1.5-2 hour visits every 2 weeks for several months. The doses increase throughout this time until you reach your target dose. 

Step three — Maintenance

When you reach the maintenance phase, you take a specific amount of your food dose every day. The only way to maintain your body’s protective immune response is by taking your dose on a regular basis.  While initially the dosing is daily, over time, your child may be able to reduce the frequency of his or her dosing depending on their response.

Oral immunotherapy can trigger anaphylaxis in some patients. For this reason, Complete Allergy and Asthma completes the initial dose and up-dosing phases in their office.

Are there any alternatives to oral immunotherapy?

Yes. If you have food allergies but aren’t interested in oral immunotherapy (OIT), your provider prescribes sublingual immunotherapy (SLIT). SLIT is similar to OIT but uses drops that you put under your tongue daily. The drops release small amounts of specific allergens into your body, helping you build an adaptive immune response.

Call Complete Allergy and Asthma today to schedule an oral immunotherapy consultation, or book your appointment online.