Egg used to treat egg allergies in kids

According to new research published in the New England Journal of Medicine, doctors have managed to reverse egg allergies in children by giving them tiny doses of egg to help train their immune systems to accept the food.

Egg used to treat egg allergies in kids

by Louise-Anne Geddes, Mindful Mum, 20th July 2012

The researchers state that while dietary avoidance is currently the only approved treatment for the allergy, in a clinical setting they were able to evaluate ‘oral immunotherapy using egg-white powder for the treatment of children with egg allergy’ and saw many children become desensitised.  Experts remind us however, that this should not be tried at home and must only be conducted under the appropriate clinical supervision.

Study

In the study 55 children took part and were treated with oral immunotherapy (40) or a placebo (15).  Dose escalation food challenges were then built up under close supervision.  Children who successfully passed the challenge at 22 months discontinued oral immunotherapy and avoided all egg consumption for 4 to 6 weeks. At 24 months, these children underwent an oral food challenge with egg-white powder and a cooked egg to test for sustained unresponsiveness. Children who passed this challenge at 24 months were placed on a diet with ‘ad libitum’ egg consumption and were evaluated for continuation of sustained unresponsiveness at 30 months and 36 months.

Findings

The researchers found that after 10 months of therapy, none of the children who received the placebo and 55% of those who received immunotherapy passed the oral food challenge, rendering them ‘desensitised.  After 22 months, 75% of those treated with oral immunotherapy were considered desensitised.

Conclusion

The study concluded that ‘these results show that oral immunotherapy can desensitize a high proportion of children with egg allergy and induce sustained unresponsiveness in a clinically significant subset’.

Source:  The New England Journal of Medicine, Oral Immunotherapy for Treatment of Egg Allergy in Children, 19th July 2012

Photography: John Tann @Flickr

+Louise-Anne Geddes

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