Lesson 4

Oral Immunotherapy

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Oral immunotherapy for treatment of egg allergy in children

This study involved 55 children, aged 5 to 11 years old, all of whom were diagnosed with egg allergy. The children were divided into two groups:

  • Treatment Group: 40 children ate daily doses of egg-white powder.
  • Control Group: 15 children ate daily doses of cornstarch.*

The doses were increased every 2 weeks until the children in the Treatment Group were eating the equivalent of about one third of an egg every day.

After 10 months and 24 months, the children from both groups went to an allergy clinic where they were given doses of egg-white powder and watched closely for allergy symptoms.

Results

Months after treatment Percent of treatment group that passed egg challenge Percent of control group that passed egg challenge
10 55 0
24 75 0

At 36 months, all 30 children who passed the egg challenge at 24 months were challenged with egg-white powder and a whole cooked egg. Eleven of the children passed the challenge and were able to eat eggs as part of their normal diet.

* The cornstarch used in the Control Group is called a placebo. A placebo is a substance that has no medical effect. It is used as a control in some medical experiments.