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Why I Do What I Do

I've recently started offering oral immunotherapy for foods in my practice. I debated with myself for almost a year before implementing protocols for this therapy, because it was incredibly important to have strict and detailed procedures in place, given the serious risks associated with food challenges in highly sensitive individuals. I take food allergy extremely seriously, and it isn't something one "dabbles in". So, it was beyond gratifying to have the following conversation with a patient a few weeks ago:

Me: "You're doing really well with advancements in dosing. If we keep moving along at this pace, pretty soon, you'll be dosing with wheat bread instead of capsules!"
Patient: "Awesome..."
Me: "Don't get too excited. It is going to start with a tiny little morsel of bread, not a sandwich!"
Patient: "You have no idea. I am going to glorify that little morsel! I have been waiting for this for such a long time."

Totally. Made. My. Day.

And this, dear reader, is why I love my job.


  1. It's great when you are able to help someone enjoy something that they once did. Think of the smile on their face they day they get to eat that sandwich.. Makes it all worth while.


  2. I can only imagine what it must be like to taste something you've been craving for years or a whole lifetime. That's incredible! I wish more doctors were willing to practice immunotherapy. Such a wonderful concept!!!!


  3. What is oral immunotherapy? I have oral allergy syndrome and allergic to all things corn and sunflower, carrots, celery, onion, tomatoes, bell pepper, cucumber, cauliflower, cabbage, brussel sprouts, green beans, peas, peaches, melons, raspberries... I think I got them all, there might be more. Its mostly because of ragweed.
    When I eat anything corn or sunflower (including high fructose corn syrup, sunflower lecithin, etc), my throat closes up and I have to administer an EpiPen and go to the emergency room. The other ones, I have a difficulty breathing, shortness of breath, etc.
    Please, can you help me?

  4. Oral immunotherapy is a method of reducing a patient's sensitivity to a food by administering gradually increasing doses of that food by mouth over an extended period of time.

    I can not stress enough that there are very significant risks associated with the treatment, including life-threatening allergic reactions. Therefore, it is not appropriate for all patients. In addition, the therapy is not widely available, as many still consider oral immunotherapy to be in the research phase.

    It would be inappropriate for me to offer specific medical advice in this forum. However, I recommend that you discuss your situation with a Board-Certified Allergist, who can help you determine a strategy to control your allergy symptoms. There are many effective treatments (including traditional subcutaneous immunotherapy) available. Many patients are surprised to find that the older, time-tested therapies are actually their best option.

  5. Do you know of any doctors in CA offering OIT? If I lived closer to you, I would bring my son but his food allergies are so severe that we hesitate to fly.


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