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Many With Food Allergy Unaware of Oral Immunotherapy Option

Last Updated: September 21, 2021.

TUESDAY, Sept. 21, 2021 (HealthDay News) -- Nearly three-quarters of adults with food allergy or parents of pediatric patients with food allergy do not know what oral immunotherapy (OIT) is, according to a study recently published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology: In Practice.

Christopher M. Warren, Ph.D., from the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago, and colleagues evaluated current OIT awareness, attitudes, and experiences among a nationally representative sample of 781 U.S. adults with food allergy and parents or caregivers of pediatric patients.

Survey results showed that 72 percent of respondents did not know what OIT was prior to the survey. There were significantly greater odds of reporting any OIT awareness among respondents from households earning more than $100,000/year or with a college degree versus those with lower income (odds ratio, 2.0) or non-college-educated respondents (odds ratio, 1.9). Among respondents familiar with OIT, 54 percent reported their expected treatment outcome was to obtain protection against accidental exposure versus 34 percent among respondents who were unfamiliar with OIT. Among respondents familiar with OIT, 38 percent reported their expected treatment outcome to be curing the allergy versus 35 percent among respondents who were unfamiliar with OIT.

"With the ongoing expansion of oral immunotherapy offerings and additional therapies on the horizon, it is important to ensure equitable access to all treatments for food allergy," a study author said in a statement.

Several authors disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry and Food Allergy Research and Education, which funded the study.

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