Peanut Allergy Immunotherapy Has Arrived

Food Allergy Sublingual Therapy
It seems fitting that my 500th Food Allergy Assistant post is one of hope and anticipation.

The letter was addressed "To the parents of...". The return label was from the allergist's office. The envelope was thick and indeed contained the long-awaited announcement.

"Our office has begun peanut sublingual immunotherapy. Do you want to participate?"

Well, yes...but. It turns out we have lots of questions and some logistics to figure out. The office requires a commitment of a two hour appointment every two weeks. Between appointments, we administer the serum at home. There can be no eating for 15 minutes before serum is given and then no eating for 30 minutes after.

It's a lot to ask of a kid.

And then there's the cost. I've seen figures upwards to $3000. Some insurance companies cover it, others don't. It appears that the serum is currently not covered.

We're being offered sublingual immunotherapy or SLIT. This is the process of placing a food extract under the tongue. This is not to be confused with oral immunotherapy (OIT), which is also being actively studied. OIT means increasing amounts of allergenic foods are fed to an allergic individual. This method had a high level of anaphylactic reactions in the past. According to the information we were given, less than 1% of individuals participating in SLIT have experienced allergic reactions.

The next step for me is a little more research, a call to the insurance company and a call to the allergist's office with our questions. I am cautiously excited and will keep you posted on our decision and progress.
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