AAAAI: Regimen Desensitizes Youth With Milk Allergy

Omalizumab combined with oral desensitization improves tolerance with few side effects

WEDNESDAY, March 23 (HealthDay News) -- A new treatment approach that involves the use of omalizumab in combination with oral desensitization in children with milk allergies appears to improve milk tolerance with few allergic reactions, according to research presented at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, held from March 18 to 22 in San Francisco.

Dale Umetsu, M.D., Ph.D., of Children's Hospital Boston, and colleagues pretreated children with omalizumab and then introduced milk in increasing amounts over a seven- to 10-week period to desensitize the children to milk. After the desensitization period, omalizumab treatment was stopped but daily doses of milk (2,000 mg) were administered for an additional eight weeks.

The investigators found that nine of the 11 children who completed the new treatment regimen passed a double-blind food challenge and were then able to ingest 8 to 12 oz of milk or more per day to maintain tolerance with minimal or no adverse effects.

"We decided to start with milk because treating it successfully could change a child's lifestyle for the better," Umetsu said in a statement. "These children had significant milk allergy, and were unlikely to outgrow it without some type of treatment. While we recognize that larger trials are necessary, these results are very promising, and suggest that a rapid and safe method of food desensitization might be available for patients in the near future."

The study was funded in part by Genentech, the manufacturer of omalizumab (Xolair).

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