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Bypassing the build-up phase for oral immunotherapy in shrimp-allergic children.

BACKGROUND: Oral immunotherapy is an effective treatment for food allergies; however, its use in clinical practice is limited by resources and lack of standardized protocols for foods other than peanut. Previous studies have suggested that shrimp has a higher threshold for reaction than other allergenic foods, suggesting it may be safe to directly administer maintenance doses of immunotherapy.

METHODS: Children aged 3-17 years who had 1) skin prick test ≥3 mm and/or specific IgE level ≥0.35 kU/L and convincing objective IgE-mediated reaction to shrimp, or 2) no ingestion history and specific IgE level ≥5 kU/L, underwent a low-dose oral food challenge to 300 mg shrimp protein, with the goal of continuing daily ingestion of the 300 mg maintenance dose as oral immunotherapy.

RESULTS: Between January 2020 and April 2023, 17 children completed the low-dose oral food challenge. Nine (53%) tolerated this amount with no reaction, and 8 (47%) had a mild reaction (isolated oral pruritis or redness on chin). Sixteen (94%) continued maintenance low-dose oral immunotherapy eating 300 mg shrimp protein daily. None of the patients developed anaphylaxis related to the immunotherapy.

CONCLUSION: Our case series suggests that some shrimp allergic patients being considered for oral immunotherapy should be offered a low-dose oral food challenge, to potentially bypass the build-up phase of immunotherapy.

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