peanut allergy immunotherapy

Our family's experience with food allergy immunotherapy


Well. That was fun. 

My 13 year old son has a severe peanut allergy and asthma. One day we met a family through boy scouts who had complete success with peanut allergy immunotherapy. Awesome! He was on the maintenance phase of 8 peanut a day. Watching him eat his peanut (which he hated) was such a wonderful site to see! We were so inspired.

Sign us up!

Right away we scheduled an appointment with well known allergist in Dallas, Tx. Not that many weeks longer we found ourselves in a room with other kids for a looong 8 hour day. The kids were in chairs and the nurse gave increasing doses of peanut flour mixed with water in a syringe. The first dose was scary. Not only because of the risk of reaction but because my son had been told every day for pretty much his whole life that he may not ever touch a peanut product. He made it through the first day with flying colors.

The next few weeks had us slowly increasing doses weekly. He had to keep his peanut solution in the fridge, shake it up and dose every 9-15 hours around the clock. We dosed at 7:30 AM and 7:30 PM. Sometimes it was difficult because he had karate in the evenings. You see, the child can't exercise for 2 hours after he doses. 

One day my son vomited in the middle of the day. Just once. Again the next day and again the next. The allergist lowered his dose. It didn't help. We lowered the dose again, still no help. After a month of this game, he was still vomiting every day and we ended up starting at the beginning again. We took the dose increases very slowly, 2 weeks at a time. The vomiting would start again and we had to go back-this happened another 2 times. The allergist told us that sometimes the kids meet a threshold that they have a hard time breaking through. Kleep plugging away and he should pull through.

He was up to 2 whole peanut in the morning and 2 in the afternoon. It lasted one whole day before he came to me complaining that he felt as though his food was stuck in his esophagus. Ahhh, he had Esophagitis caused by exposure to his allergen. We lowered his dose, it didn't help. We continued to lower his dose but he started having very severe asthma attacks in the middle of the night. Like he couldn't breath at all and he was gasping for air.

We closed the door on immunotherapy. My son healed fairly quickly and we are back to strict avoidance. The whole peanut immunotherapy experience was a little over a year. We sure tried!

Do you have a story that you would like to share about a food allergy immunotherapy? E-mail me and let me know, I'm really interested in keeping up with it.