Book Review: The Food Allergy Fix

By Sakina Shikari Bajowala, MD@allergistmommy
This can be a long-overdue ebook, not within the sense that library books are saved too lengthy however as a result of it brings us updated on the still-unapproved, but extensively accessible, therapy referred to as oral immunotherapy (OIT) for meals allergy symptoms. We’ve been following the progress of OIT on this web site for years since earlier than we printed a bit by Dr. Hugh Sampson with the subtitle “Not Ready for Prime Time.” It attracted so many hits that it crashed the location, which remained out of fee for a nervous weekend whereas we tried to achieve our developer in Sri Lanka. Within the intervening years, we have now seen such developments as AR101 (a prescription oral immunotherapy being fast-tracked to market), and different immunotherapies corresponding to sub-lingual (SLIT), epicutaneous (EPIT), and even toothpaste (oral mucosal immunotherapy, or OMIT), as we reported not too long ago. Many sufferers will not be restricted to everlasting vigilance as a meals allergy technique, though they should proceed to hold their epinephrine.
Sakina Bajowala, MDIn the meantime what I used to name the OIT underground has continued to percolate and proliferate. Dr. Bajowala makes a robust case that it’s prepared for prime time. However not on community TV! That is premium cable, and with the publication of this ebook, Sakina turns into the HBO of personal follow OIT by taking us contained in the historical past and methodology of her work. She describes the processes each of sensitization and desensitization, and creates an in depth blueprint of how an OIT follow ought to perform, extremely individualized and versatile, proper all the way down to methods for educating youngsters on their duties. She believes that prescription immunotherapy (name it primary cable) will depart many sufferers behind, though it is going to be supplied by extra mainstream allergists.
Dr. Ehrlich identified in his column just a few years in the past, Dr. Bajowala’s model of OIT is just not for each allergist, together with himself: “Even if I overcame my reservations about the state of the research and bought into one of the protocols being used in private practice, I believe this will eventually involve a sub-specialty of allergy and immunology, as indeed, is the de facto case already. Deliberate daily exposure to a food allergen requires round-the-clock availability that I am not prepared to give.”
Sakina herself may need chosen the usual route, however for the truth that her personal youngsters turned out to be meals allergic and she or he wasn’t going to take it mendacity down. She studied the scientific literature, however as a mom she wasn’t content material to attend and commenced poking across the protocols being pioneered on the time. Regardless of the emotional underpinnings of this journey, she isn’t something aside from information-driven and analytical in regards to the model of medication she provides her sufferers, beginning with the cautious selection of title The Meals Allergy Repair. This can be a repair, not a remedy, and a few sufferers might not be fixable. Furthermore, it does nothing for co-morbid situations like bronchial asthma and eczema, which frequently represent higher threats to high quality of life, and within the case of bronchial asthma to life itself, than meals allergy symptoms.
One factor that basically captured me about Dr. Bajowala’s method was her emphasis on the significance of digestion. Meals allergy symptoms are a situation of the digestive system in addition to the immune system. Within the early days of personal OIT I heard about even very younger sufferers being given antacids and proton pump inhibitors to maintain their gorge from rising, and provides the allergen time to interact their immune techniques. To caregivers and medical doctors, the prospect of eventual tolerance was definitely worth the threat of short-term discomfort and, because it seems, long-term harm. The opposite physician I do know for whom digestion is given equal weight is my co-author Dr. Xiu-Min Li whose follow, centering on conventional Chinese language medication (TCM), embraces a class of sufferers who’ve suffered power gastric misery from OIT. She and Dr. Bajowala collaborate on some sufferers.
Dr. Bajowala’s method relies on the opposite nice Asian medical custom referred to as Ayurveda, which to my dim Western eyes locations much more emphasis on digestion than TCM. The one lecture I heard about it by a distinguished allergist contained extra references to poop in 20 minutes than you’ll hear from a typical eight-year outdated boy. The purpose being for functions of Sakina’s ebook is that it gives an accessible and sensible roadmap for the forgotten facet of treating meals allergy symptoms that ought to be required studying for OIT practitioners present and aspiring.
OIT is just not for all allergists and never for all sufferers. Neither group ought to really feel pressured to undertake it with out full understanding of commitments and dangers concerned. A latest retrospective research of 270 sufferers aged Four-18 confirmed that 79% had been desensitized to peanut, though there have been epinephrine-treated reactions in 63 sufferers and remoted gastrointestinal signs in 101. Seventy-nine p.c efficacy is just not too shabby; many accepted medication have decrease efficacy charges. However these outcomes additionally depart some questions unanswered. That research was only for peanuts, the best-studied allergen; others, notably milk, may be trickier, and stay to be equally studied. In a real-world setting, will sufferers be correctly screened to see if they’re allergic or will non-allergic sufferers be counted as successes? And with all OIT the prospect of upkeep dosing poses an never-ending problem. Treatment fatigue is a problem with all power illness administration, though it may be extra bearable if taken within the type of pizza and ice cream, as Dr. Bajowala factors out.
The meals allergy epidemic will proceed to prod medical doctors and sufferers within the path of motion. This ebook, written with heat, authority, and good humor, will assist each work out the place they stand. So, nicely executed, Sakina.
Assessment by Henry Ehrlich
To purchase this ebook on Amazon, click on right here. For a short while the book will likely be $.99. After that it is going to be $7.99 for book, $15.99 for paperback.
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