Continuing food avoidance in allergy

Recent research published in Pediatric Allergy and Immunology (2006 17:601-605 - Eigenmann et al Continuing food-avoidance diets after negative food challenges) recommends that patients who have a negative food challenge should then eat that food regularly.

Not only does reintroducing the food regularly greatly improve the patient’s quality of life (fewer disruptions in social activities and reduced anxiety in their daily life) but it reduces the potential for relapse if the patient continues to avoid the food thereby risking their new tolerance.

The study was carried out on 73 families, 75% of whom reported that they had reintroduced the food to themselves or their children which had greatly improved the family’s and the child’s social life.

However, 25% of parents had not reintroduced the food to the child, some because they feared that the negative challenge had a been a freak result and that the child was still allergic, others because they did not feel it was necessary to change the general diet believing it was enough for the child to be able to tolerate small amounts of the allergen in processed foods. Yet others did not find it necessary to reintroduce a food that had been successfully avoided for years.

According to the study, boys were more likely to reintroduce the food to their diet than girls, and peanuts were less often reintroduced than other allergens.

Scientists recommend that those who undergo and pass a double-blind, placebo-controlled challenge test should then be given the food openly in front of their family to prove to both themselves and their family that they cat eat the food safely.

Courtesy of Food Allergy News, the Journal of the US Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network - 001 800 929 4040

First published in June 2007

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