Oral immunotherapy (OIT) involves eating or drinking a tiny amount of the food or drink you are allergic to and slowly building up the amount you can safely have. This usually takes place over a period of weeks or months. The amounts and timeframes will vary depending on your diagnosis and what you’re allergic to.
You may be given the food as a powder or liquid which is carefully measured into another food or drink, such as yogurt or fruit juice. The amount will be increased every day or every few days, as long as you don’t have an allergic reaction. This process of increasing the amount is called ‘dose escalation’.
Once you have reached the highest amount you can tolerate without having an allergic reaction (called your ‘maintenance dose’), you will need to keep eating this amount every day for a period of time – from several months to a year or more – as the effects are temporary. If you don’t eat the food regularly the effect of the treatment could wear off. Eventually, it may be possible to eat the food less often, such as three times a week, and still keep the benefits.