What You Need To Know About Oral Immunotherapy For Your Food Allergies

If you suffer from food allergies, you may wonder what course of treatment to pursue to best manage your condition. Though the exact answer depends on the severity of your allergies and your specific health situation, one option to explore is oral immunotherapy. 

Oral immunotherapy involves having the affected individual consume small amounts of foods that are known allergens. Over times, the amount of allergy-inducing food that you consume is increased depending on your reaction to smaller doses. Here's some vital information to know about oral immunotherapy. 

Oral Immunotherapy Requires Patience and Consistency

To get the most benefits from oral immunotherapy, you have to be consistent with your treatments for a lengthy period of time. It's common for doctors to prescribe two or three immunotherapy sessions weekly for months; some patients may require a year or more of consistent therapy sessions to get the most benefits.

If you don't feel like you're able to adhere to such a rigid schedule but still want to explore oral immunotherapy, you may want to see if you qualify to do one or more of your weekly sessions from your own home instead of in-office. 

Oral Immunotherapy Won't Cure Your Food Allergies

Unfortunately, oral immunotherapy isn't designed to cure your food allergies. Instead, the goal of this allergy management technique is to increase the amount of the allergen that you're able to consume without suffering a severe or even life-threatening reaction.

Some individuals have such severe food allergies that even a minuscule amount of the allergen can be a significant health hazard. The objective is to increase your tolerance to known allergens so that consuming a few bites of a dish contaminated by a food that you're allergic to isn't a life-threatening event. You should still take steps to adjust your diet and carry an epinephrine pen so that you're prepared for an intense allergic reaction.

Oral Immunotherapy May Be More Successful for Certain Allergens

Researchers are still studying oral immunotherapy, but it might be more successful for certain foods. Your doctor can help you decide if it's a viable management solution for your allergies and worth the time required for therapy sessions and the potential side effects. 

Potential side effects of oral immunotherapy usually involve irritation of the gastrointestinal tract and include diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, and cramping. It is possible, though rare, to suffer an allergic reaction during your therapy session; you may experience wheezing, hives, or anaphylaxis. 

For more options on food allergy treatments, contact your doctor.