PHOENIX, AZ, December 29, 2017 — Food allergies are on the rise, with nuts as one of the most common triggers. It used to be that the only solution for people with nut allergies was to simply avoid nuts altogether, but the AllergyEasy program provides a better way. The program uses sublingual immunotherapy (under-the-tongue drops) to desensitize people to nuts and diminish their allergic reactions.
The AllergyEasy program helps doctors around the country test and treat for dozens of food allergens, including tree nuts. Doctors can prescribe sublingual immunotherapy (SLIT), which is similar to allergy shots but uses oral drops instead.
SLIT starts with an “allergy serum” containing extracts of allergy-causing foods suspended in a saline solution. Patients take the serum in gradually increasing concentrations in the form of daily under-the-tongue drops. Over time, their bodies can learn to tolerate the foods that once made them miserable.
Doctors using the AllergyEasy program order a food allergy test kit that gauges patients' reactions to over 60 different foods. The kit comes with a multi-pronged device that deposits antigen into the top layers of the skin. If the patient is allergic to a particular food, their skin will turn red and swell into a raised bump or “wheal.” In general, the bigger the wheal, the greater the allergy.
Based on patients' results, physicians can mix allergy drops in-office or order them through a compounding pharmacy. Many family practice physicians and pediatricians participate in the AllergyEasy program. Rather than referring their allergic patients out for treatment, they can support them in-office.
“It's a win for the patients who get to continue seeing their trusted primary care physician,” said Dr. Stuart Agren, founder of AllergyEasy. “It's also a win for the doctors who can expand their services and better address their patients' allergy needs.”
Subcutaneous immunotherapy (delivered through allergy shots) was developed in the early 1900s to treat inhalant allergies (pollen, dust, mold, etc.). Sublingual immunotherapy followed several decades later with convenient, under-the-tongue drops that are absorbed into the bloodstream by specialized cells in the mouth.
While allergy shots are only effective in decreasing inhalant allergies, allergy drops have proven to be safe and effective in reducing both inhalant and food allergies. Allergy drops are also safer than shots, so they can be taken in the comfort of home rather than at the doctor's office.
According to Dr. Agren, sublingual food allergy treatment is a long-overdue advance–especially for people with severe nut allergies.
“For patients with nut allergies, one bite of the wrong food can mean a trip to the hospital,” said Dr. Agren. “For years, all I could tell my patients was to stay away from nuts. This treatment is a life-changer for many people.”
AllergyEasy sublingual immunotherapy clinics are helping people around the country safely eat nuts such as cashews, pistachios, walnuts, and pecans that once triggered reactions. The program does not yet treat for peanuts, but it provides food allergy treatment for dozens of other food allergens (including egg, wheat, soy, rice, and milk allergy treatment).
AllergyEasy helps allergy doctors around the country provide sublingual immunotherapy (allergy drops) to their patients who suffer with allergies to pollen and food allergies (including dairy allergy, wheat allergy, nut allergy, fruit allergy and more.) AllergyEasy can connect patients to a doctor in their area who offers sublingual allergy treatment.
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