About the OIT Program
When children have severe allergies to common foods like milk, eggs and nuts, families must remain hypervigilant to keep their children safe. Even the smallest exposure to the allergen can cause an extreme reaction called anaphylaxis, in which the immune system begins to attack itself, causing tissues in the body to swell, the airways to close and the heart and lungs to fail. Today, patients treated at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) have a new treatment option: oral immunotherapy.
What is oral immunotherapy?
Maintenance dosing and exiting food challenge
After your child performs food challenges, the clinical team will be able to determine when to start OIT dosing. Some children can increase the dosage of their allergen every two weeks, commonly called “up-dosing.” Others may need more time to build up their body’s resistance to the allergen.
Initial up-dosing visits will occur at CHOP’s Philadelphia or King of Prussia campuses; while subsequent visits can take place at any of our other CHOP Allergy satellite offices in Brandywine Valley, Exton, Princeton or Voorhees.
Once your child has reached maintenance dosing, they will return for an OIT Program visit every three months for one to three years (depending on the allergen). After a year of maintenance dosing, your child will be offered a milestone challenge to determine how much of the allergen your child can safely consume without adverse reactions.
Getting started with OIT & Numbers
If you believe your child may benefit from oral immunotherapy, talk to your child’s allergy provider. The provider can refer your family to the OIT Clinic at CHOP. To participate in OIT, your family must agree to participate in the following:
An intake visit to evaluate your child’s food allergy history and care plan.
Food challenges based on your child’s history if not completed during the past year. This may include repeating skin testing and blood work.
Up-dosing visits every two to four weeks at the hospital or one of our satellite offices so clinicians can monitor your child’s reaction.
Maintenance dose visits to the oral immunotherapy program at least every three months.