Food Allergy Research

Despite Higher Risk, Milk Oral Immunotherapy Successful for Patients with Asthma

Individuals with both asthma and food allergies are at heightened risk for severe reactions and fatal anaphylaxis. For that reason, milk-allergic patients with asthma are often excluded from clinical trials for milk oral immunotherapy (MOIT), a treatment course which aims to desensitize patients to milk.

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A recent study from researchers at the Assaf Harofeh Medical Center in Israel enrolled milk-allergic patients with asthma and without asthma in a MOIT treatment course to determine the long-term outcome of MOIT for patients with asthma. Published in the March 2015 edition of the Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, their results showed that, although they experienced more reactions during MOIT treatment and were less likely to be fully desensitized, asthma patients could still be successfully treated to a degree that would protect them from accidental exposures to milk.

A few key findings were:

  • Before MOIT began, patients with asthma had more previous anaphylactic reactions, emergency department visits and hospital admissions, demonstrating they are at a higher risk for severe reactions than patients without asthma. Similarly, during the course of treatment, patients with asthma were more likely to have reactions or need to administer epinephrine.
  • More than 80 percent of patients with asthma, regardless of severity, reached a dose likely to protect them from accidental exposure to milk.
  • The researchers recommended that asthma patients should not be excluded from consideration for MOIT. The treatment can potentially reduce the risk for anaphylaxis due to accidental exposure for these patients.

FARE notes that this is a preliminary study, and cautions that oral immunotherapy is an experimental treatment approach. There is no FDA-approved treatment for food allergy. For more information about food allergy research, please visit

4 thoughts on “Despite Higher Risk, Milk Oral Immunotherapy Successful for Patients with Asthma

  1. We appreciate attention to food allergies, but it seems like the majority of posts by FARE are related to oral immunotherapy. Very little on chemicals found in the food, little on genetics, little on DNA, little on family history. The public who continues to hear this are easily misled to think that the answer is just feed allergic kids the food allergen.
    There is little mention of morbidity with these oral immunotherapy. Wouldn’t it better for us with food allergies if you focus on less oral immunotherapy — or is there a reason that oral therapy is heavily promoted — why not medications for specific genetic markers. We believe the approach for food allergies is multidisciplinary, involving hematology/oncologist, genetics, and other specialists. If FARE approaches similar to treatment of cancer or HIV, then you will see it requires multipharamacist and not oral therapy alone.
    They have found that there is genetic factor for those allergic to PLAVIX. They have found that there is chemical in Black Walnut – JUGLONE that is toxic to horses, humans, and many plants. Why is it that peanut and tree nut allergies and other food allergens continue only to focus on oral therapy? And is the funding coming from food industry or specific reason why oral therapy — if cancer and HIV were treated this way, there would be no advancement.

    1. Oral immunotherapy is focused on because it works. I have 2 kids desensitized to prove it. Using your cancer argument, if you research cancer treatments, you will see a lot about chemotherapy and radiation. It is fine if FARE chooses to research genetic markers and other medical disciplines. While you wait for years on that research, we are eating peanuts, eggs, and milk products. We had 10 years of severe food allergies and now 3 years without. I choose without.

  2. My daughter who is 20 has a milk sensitivity. She has Asthma and milk products in medium to large amounts flares up her Asthma. She can have soy, almond and coconut.

  3. My severe milk-allergic and asthmatic daughter was desensitized 3 years ago from OIT. It radically changed our lives! She drinks 1 cup of whole milk every day now.

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