Rush Desensitisation for Food Allergies

This is a rush job pooling together some resources on rush desensitisation (or desensitization if you are in the USA).

If you are unsure what this is, it is one of the types of immunotherapy for allergies.  It was initially used for environmental allergens and is quite popular over in America for people suffering from seasonal hayfever, they are subcutaneous injections taken regularly and thought to ‘desensitise’ the patient from their allergens.

Rush desensitisation is a process started in hospital when incremental amounts of the allergen are given on a frequent basis, e.g. hourly until either an adverse reaction occurs or the patient is able to fully tolerate the maximum dose.  After a short stay in hospital the patient is then encouraged to keep up the dose of the previously avoided allergen to fully desensitise themselves to it.


The effectiveness of this for pollen, dust mites and hayfever seems well documented, and it is reasonably effective, but food allergy is at this point less well studied.  If you or your child are going to undertake immunotherapy for their allergies you may want to consider the following:

  • Are they asthmatic, have eczema or hayfever (as this may lead to an increase in their adverse reactions)?
  • What form will the immunotherapy take? (Injections are most effective, but contain a higher dose and can cause more adverse effects; tablets and oral/nasal sprays are less effective but contain lower doses of allergen (some thought to be destroyed by saliva), but cause less adverse reactions)
  • Does the programme you are entering into have recent statistics they can show you and is it worth the risk?

My Thoughts

I don’t personally think that this is something I would consider, as I feel my daughter’s symptoms to be too severe to risk having an adverse effect.  We also as a rule do not avoid food which ‘may contain’ milk or egg and are not super strict with cross contamination, so she is probably getting very low doses of allergens in her system already.

Hastily Pulled Together Resources

Abstracts Only

AAAAI and ACAAI surveillance study of subcutaneous immunotherapy, Year 3: what practices modify the risk of systemic reactions?           

Adverse effects during specific oral tolerance induction: in-hospital “rush” phase.

Adverse effects during specific oral tolerance induction: in home phase.   

Specific oral tolerance induction in children with very severe cow’s milk-induced reactions.                                                 

Free Complete Paper

Safety of accelerated schedules of subcutaneous allergen immunotherapy with house dust mite extract in patients with atopic dermatitis.                (dust mites, but as a free paper you can look at the methods as they will be similar)

Specific oral tolerance induction (SOTI) to cow’s milk in an adult patient with anaphylaxis symptoms.                            

Information from Allergy Organisations

Stories of People who have undergone/undergoing treatment

Lots of reading there, enjoy!

This entry was posted in Asthma, Food Allergy, Immunotherapy and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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