Oral immunotherapy for the treatment of peanut allergy: systematic review of six case series studies.

Author:Sheikh A, Nurmatov U, Venderbosch I, Bischoff E.
Title:Oral immunotherapy for the treatment of peanut allergy: systematic review of six
case series studies.
Citation:Primary Care Respiratory Journal. 2012 Mar;21(1):41-9.
Abstract:BACKGROUND: Allergy to peanuts is associated with considerable morbidity and, in a minority of cases, mortality. Natural resolution to peanut allergy occurs inonly a few cases, hence the need to find effective interventions. Peanut oral immunotherapy (OIT) is a potentially important new therapeutic development.
AIMS: To assess the benefits and harms of OIT for peanut allergy.
METHODS: Fourteen databases were searched for published reports and unpublished/in-progress studies. We included studies employing randomized controlled trial (RCT), quasi-RCT, controlled clinical trial, controlled before-and-after, interrupted time series, and case series designs.
RESULTS: Six studies enrolling a total of 85 participants satisfied our inclusion criteria. All studies employed a case series design and were thus judged to be at high risk of bias. Overall, this body of evidence provided suggestive evidence that it is possible for many participants to increase their threshold dose for peanut exposure whilst receiving treatment. Adverse reactions were common and, whilst most of these were relatively minor, some were potentially life-threatening.
CONCLUSIONS: OIT appears to be a potentially promising new therapy for the short-to medium-term management of carefully selected and monitored patients with peanut allergy. The effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of OIT – particularly over the longer term - need to be clearly established using more robust designs before its clinical use can be contemplated. Given the risk of triggering serious adverse reactions, OIT should not be administered outside clinical trial settings.