Dr Richard Wasserman on Changing Attitudes Toward Food Allergy OIT

Richard Wasserman, MD, PhD, an allergist and immunologist with Allergy Partners of North Texas, an early adopter of food allergy oral immunotherapy (OIT), discusses how attitudes have changed around the practice.

Richard Wasserman, MD, PhD, an allergist and immunologist with Allergy Partners of North Texas, was an early adopter of using tiny amounts of food in oral immunotherapy (OIT), which attempts to desensitize patients to allergens and reduce the risk of a reaction. At the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology Annual Scientific Meeting on Monday, he is moderating a session for allergists interested in learning more about expanding their private practice to include OIT.


As a pioneer in food allergy oral immunotherapy, how have conversations with other allergists changed around this issue since you started doing this more than a decade ago?

I think that from my very first presentation related to food allergy therapy at the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, there has been great interest in oral immunotherapy for food allergy. You could probably divide allergists into 3 groups.

There's a group that follows the lead of the academy and college leadership, which has been vigorously opposed to oral immunotherapy in private practice outside of a research study. Then there's a group of people who've been very interested in oral immunotherapy, and that group has really expanded dramatically over the past 10 years. And then there's the bulk of allergists who are kind of busy with their own thing and I don't think have really gotten very much into it.

The general atmosphere has changed a lot in that the European Academy of Allergy and Clinical Immunology includes oral immunotherapy as one of their standard options for the management of food allergy. The Canadian Society of Allergy and Clinical Immunology has done the same in and has issued guidelines for food allergy treatment and oral immunotherapy. And Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology: In Practice, which is a house organ of the academy, has published several articles, including a guide on how to do oral immunotherapy for food allergy and private practice. So the atmosphere has changed a lot.