Food allergies continue to increase exponentially and therapies that can modify the natural course of disease is a recent top priority of the research. IgE-mediated food allergy represents both a promising and an intriguing disease of application for allergen specific immunotherapy. In particular, oral immunotherapy (OIT) may offer a novel effective therapeutic modality for persistent and severe forms of food allergies. In such patients, avoidance of the causative foods only may be insufficient because of the risk of unplanned exposure to causative foods. In patients with cow’s milk, hen’s egg, and peanut allergies, several recently published studies, including meta-analysis, confirmed the overall benefit of OIT. However, the definitive evidence of efficacy and safety with long-term therapeutic or disease-modifying effects is limited. In current protocols, entry indications, and initial-escalating-maintenance doses, the form of antigens, durations, and follow-up periods await to be standardized. Most of the clinical trials of OIT demonstrate effective desensitization, but the ability for inducing long-term tolerance remains to be improved, and the ratio of risks versus benefits of OIT should be considered in detail. The ultimate goal is extending OIT to primary care practice, but at this time, OIT remains within the purview of allergy specialists in terms of associated risk-benefit ratios, related safety, and long-term tolerance induction.
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