As a mom of three children, none of whom have a potentially life threatening peanut allergy, it is hard to imagine what living life with one, is like.
Except I see it everyday.
As a Board Certified Allergist, I see the pain and worry in the eyes of parents whose child could suffer a life-threatening reaction should they come in contact with peanut.
Two years ago, the families of two peanut-allergic patients approached me about Oral Immunotherapy, or OIT as it’s commonly referred to in the allergy world. Because their sons can have an allergic reaction or display symptoms of a reaction when coming in contact with just a tiny amount of food, these moms want that danger to go away. They want to be rid of the fear their sons might come into contact with or accidentally ingest peanut. Traces of peanut could be anywhere – on a bus seat, door handle, or desk top.
“I can protect my 8-year-old son now,” says Kristal Moths. “That will grow increasingly tougher as he moves into middles school, high school, and beyond, ” adds Moths.
OIT is a form of food allergy therapy where the allergen is swallowed. So in the case of a peanut allergy, patients who are allergic to peanut swallow exactly that – peanut. It can be a frightening concept, I know. The OIT protocol calls for starting with a very small amount of peanut protein increasing over time to actual whole peanuts. Currently, there are research studies underway in an effort to gain OIT approval by the Food and Drug Administration.
In August, 2015, after studying the OIT peanut process for nearly two years, I decided to move forward with plans to conduct OIT with patients from our Stone Oak clinic in San Antonio, Texas. Three factors largely influenced my decision:
- My patients. Plain and simple, I want my patients to have a chance at living a normal life – one without fear of anaphylaxis.
- Research. I have spoken at length with other Board Certified Allergists who are conducting Peanut Allergy OIT, and, I use a published protocol.
- Risk management. At Advanced Allergy, we are prepared to handle the risk that accompanies OIT. My Stone Oak clinic, where I conduct all peanut up-dosing, is connected to North Central Baptist hospital. Though we are prepared to handle an anaphylactic reaction in our office, should we need additional medical support, I can get my patient to the hospital quickly.
Today, I have nearly a dozen patients who are at different stages on their journey with Peanut Allergy OIT. My first two patients have bravely allowed us to share in their journey, as you will watch in this video montage. Take a look.
For more information on OIT or to talk about whether Oral Immunotherapy may be a therapy for you, please call our office at 210-499-ITCH. You may also find helpful discussion in the Facebook Group, Private Practice OIT.