Allergy to cow’s milk is the most common food allergy affecting children. There is currently no accepted routine clinical therapy to cure milk allergy. Recently studies have attempted to induce desensitisation using small daily doses of cow’s milk, predominantly by the oral route (oral immunotherapy, OIT). Although this therapy works for some people, its effects are not generally long lasting and it is associated with significant side effects during protocol, including potentially life-threatening allergic reactions. Pilot data suggests that sublingual immunotherapy (SLIT, where allergen is held under the tongue, rather than swallowed) can also induce a degree of desensitisation, but with fewer adverse events. However, the degree of desensitisation induced appears to be lower than that with oral immunotherapy. The investigators wish to determine whether a sublingual pretreatment phase can improve the safety of conventional OIT in cow’s milk allergy.
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