FARE-led Panel Seeks to Expand Awareness of and Access to Oral Immunotherapy (OIT)
Paper summarizing November 2019 summit hosted by FARE reports common ground, knowledge gaps around food-based oral therapies to prevent life-threatening allergic reactions to food
McLean, Va. (June 5, 2020) – A new white paper from a team of authors led by Dr. Thomas B. Casale, chief medical advisor for FARE (Food Allergy Research & Education), has published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology. The article, Consensus Report from the Food Allergy Research and Education (FARE) 2019 Oral Immunotherapy for Food Allergy Summit, is designed to help doctors and patients share discussions about oral immunotherapy (OIT), a food allergy treatment that some allergists now offer, and a growing number of patients want to pursue.
During food allergy treatment with OIT, the patient eats their food allergen, the food protein to which the patient is allergic. Under medical supervision, the patient initially eats very small amounts of the allergen. Over time, the dose is increased to retrain the patient’s immune system and raise the threshold amount of allergen that patients can tolerate. OIT can eventually allow many patients to eat a significant amount of a food allergen without a reaction. This benefit can be lost if the allergen is not eaten on an ongoing basis. OIT has been transformational for many patients but it does not work for all patients. Allergic reactions, which can be serious, and stomach upset are common side effects.
There is a considerable and growing body of research that shows OIT to be successful in both increasing the level of tolerance to an allergen that patients can achieve and also reducing the daily stress and anxiety that comes from living with a life-threatening food allergy,” said Dr. Thomas B. Casale. “We understand that patients, families, physicians and regulators all have questions surrounding who should move forward with OIT and how best to incorporate different therapies into existing care plans. This report is designed to bring clarity to some of these questions to aid patients and physicians alike in making informed decisions about whether OIT is right for them.”
In January 2020, Palforzia—Aimmune Therapeutics’ peanut OIT product—became the first food allergy treatment approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. This significant step forward for the food allergy community has attracted new focus on OIT and its effectiveness. Having a standardized, FDA-approved, peanut-based drug to treat peanut allergy patients ages 4-17 is expected to increase the number of physicians offering OIT.
Anticipating the impact of FDA approval of Palforzia in expanding patient and physician interest in OIT, FARE, the world’s leader in food allergy education and largest private funder of food allergy research, brought together an expert panel. Health care providers, patient representatives, researchers, regulators, food allergy advocates, and leaders of professional societies representing allergists and immunologists gathered for a groundbreaking summit held November 6, 2019, in Houston, Tex. Together, the panel worked to identify points of consensus that could serve as the basis for informing the food allergy community, general public and its allies in health care.
The new paper reports that OIT can be an effective treatment to raise a patient’s tolerance for their problem food(s) and limit their risk of life-threatening reactions, but also notes that OIT carries risks, is not a cure, and is not appropriate for all patients. Patients and their families must be able to follow strict adherence to office visits, prescribed dosing regimens and restrictions during dosing. The paper emphasizes the importance of shared decision-making with informed and ongoing consent throughout the OIT process and recommends steps physicians can take to protect patients and provide appropriate care. In addition to highlighting unmet needs in OIT research, the paper calls on care providers, insurers and government agencies to work toward making OIT more accessible.
To learn more about the consensus paper on oral immunotherapy, visit foodallergy.org/fare-blog/new-publication-supports-shared-discussions-between-doctors-and-patients-around-oit.
FARE (Food Allergy Research & Education) is the nation’s leading non-profit engaged in food allergy advocacy as well as the largest private funder of food allergy research. FARE’s innovative education, advocacy and research initiatives transform the future of food allergy through new and improved treatments and prevention strategies, effective policies and legislation, and novel approaches to managing the disease. To learn more, visit: foodallergy.org.