HealthDay News — Vital wheat gluten (VWG) oral immunotherapy (OIT) induces desensitization in about half of patients with wheat allergy after a year of treatment, according to a study published online Oct. 30 in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.

Anna Nowak-Wegrzyn, MD, PhD, from the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City, and colleagues randomly assigned 46 patients with wheat allergy to low-dose VWG OIT or placebo after a baseline double-blind, placebo-controlled food challenge, with biweekly escalation to 1445 mg of wheat protein (WP). Active participants continued low-dose VWG OIT for another year; participants treated with placebo crossed over to high-dose VWG OIT.

The researchers found that in both groups, the median baseline successfully consumed dose (SCD) was 43 mg of WP. At year one, 52.2% and 0%, respectively, of the 23 VWG OIT-treated and 23 placebo-treated participants achieved the primary end point of an SCD of ≥4443 mg of WP; the median SCDs were 4443 and 143 mg, respectively. Overall, 30.4% of the 23 low-dose VWG OIT-treated participants were desensitized to an SCD of 7443 mg of WP at year two; at 8 to 10 weeks off therapy, 13% achieved sustained unresponsiveness. Of the placebo-treated participants who were crossed over to high-dose VWG OIT, 57.1 percent were desensitized after one year.

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“Overall, we were very pleased with the efficacy and safety of wheat oral immunotherapy for highly allergic patients,” Nowak-Wegrzyn said in a statement.

Several authors disclosed ties to pharmaceutical, food, and medical technology companies, including Thermo Fisher Scientific, which partially funded the study.

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