ONALASKA, WI. Sept. 17, 2019 – Research published last week shows sublingual immunotherapy is an effective and safe treatment for peanut allergic children. The study of 48 children ages 1-11 years showed that 67% were able to tolerate 750 mg, about two peanuts, and 25% of those patients were able to tolerate 5,000 mg, about 17 peanuts, after successfully treating the cause of their peanut allergy with sublingual immunotherapy.

Sublingual immunotherapy, or allergy drops, is an allergy treatment gaining popularity for treating the cause of environmental and food allergies by introducing the body to offending allergens. The patients in this 2019 study took physician prescribed liquid doses of peanut extract – or allergy drops – under the tongue daily for 3-5 years, slowly increasing doses and building tolerance to peanut over time.

One main takeaway from the 2019 study: the safety profile with allergy drops is high. No participants in the study experienced severe reactions, and less than 5% had minor side effects from the treatment, including itching or stomach discomfort. This level of safety sets allergy drops apart from other food allergy treatment options.

The continuance of research about allergy drops over the years could be attributed to work done in La Crosse by Dr. Mary Morris of Allergy Associates of La Crosse (AAOL) and a researcher involved in the 2019 study, Dr. Wesley Burks.

“I had been seeing that sublingual immunotherapy worked in our patients, and I thought that this really needed to be explored in a rigorous scientific study,” Dr. Morris said. So, in 2005, Dr. Morris collaborated with Dr. Burks to share the clinical experience and dosing protocol of AAOL. By working together, they were able to get funding from NIH for an initial study. This research, including the 2019 study, has continued using the same protocol, using the clinical experience from AAOL.

With the funding and continuous research, light has been shed on allergy drops as a viable treatment option for allergic patients. “The thing that I am excited about is that it proves, in very rigorous, scientific, academic centered, funded by the government – not pharmaceutical companies – study, that it works,” Dr. Morris explains.

“With this research, an educated family or physician can see that there is another option for treating the cause of peanut allergy, as well as other food allergies,” Dr. Morris explains. AAOL has been a longtime proponent and practitioner of allergy drops, having treated thousands of peanut allergic patients since 1970 following the La Crosse Method Protocol. The La Crosse Method allows for the treatment of food and environmental allergy for patients in infancy to older adults.

If you, or someone you know, are interested in treating the cause of a food allergy safely, consider making an appointment at AAOL – a sole sublingual immunotherapy practice in Onalaska.

 E.H. Kim et alLong-term sublingual immunotherapy for peanut allergy in children: Clinical and immunologic evidence of desensitizationJournal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology. Published September 4, 2019. doi:10.1016/j.jaci.2019.07.030.

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