Allergy and Immunology

Food Allergy Program | Oral Immunotherapy Clinic

Oral Immunotherapy Clinic

The Division of Allergy and Immunology has a specialized Oral Immunotherapy (OIT) Clinic for patients with food allergies. A diagnosis of food allergy is determined by your child’s history of allergy symptoms, diagnostic tests and a discussion with your child’s allergist.

The Oral Immunotherapy Clinic is coordinated by Amal H. Assa’ad, MD, a certified pediatric allergist / immunologist and Associate Director and Director of Clinical Services of Cincinnati Children’s Division of Allergy and Immunology.

Clinic Locations and Operating Hours

The main OIT Clinic is located on the Burnet Campus in Location C (Outpatient Services Building) on the fifth floor in Treatment Center 9. An initial consultation during Allergy Clinic hours may need to be scheduled to determine whether your child is a candidate for OIT Clinic. Operating hours for the Burnet Campus are every Friday afternoon. The OIT Clinic is also offered at our Liberty Campus.  

For an appointment, call 513-636-6771, option 1. 

What is Oral Immunotherapy? (OIT)

Oral immunotherapy (OIT) is a process of building up a tolerance to a food you are allergic to. Learn how oral immunotherapy works and how to do a daily dose of OIT.

Oral Immunotherapy

Oral immunotherapy (OIT) is a process of building up tolerance to a food your child is allergic to. The goal of OIT is to decrease your child’s sensitivity to the food allergen. By slowly introducing the food allergen, it may lower the risk of life-threatening allergic reactions. The process is also known as desensitization. 

The first step in this process is to find a safe starting amount of the food for your child. During your clinic visit, the doctor will identify the right dose your child can tolerate without having allergy symptoms. Your child will then take this small amount of the food every day at home. The dose slowly increases at clinic visits. Your child will get a slightly larger amount of the food at each clinic visit, and you will give the new dose each day at home until your doctor gives you other instructions. 

Your child is a good candidate for OIT if: 

  • We can find a safe starting dose of the food allergen for your child
  • They can cooperate with eating the food every day
  • You are willing to make sure your child gets their dose of the food allergen every day;
  • You can come for clinic visits every 2 to 4 weeks for roughly 6 months or longer, depending on how the process goes with your child 

Peanut Oral Immunotherapy

For more information about peanut oral immunotherapy at Cincinnati Children’s, watch this 50-minute webinar featuring Justin T. Schwartz, MD, PhD, Sandy Durrani, MD and Christa Mills, MSN, RN as they explain the basics of oral immunotherapy, what is involved, the risks and benefits and data from Cincinnati Children’s peanut food allergy oral immunotherapy. Select the full screen view for the best viewing experience.

Peanut Oral Immunotherapy at Cincinnati Children's.

Watch the Peanut Oral Immunotherapy Webinar

Robyn's Story

Robyn smiles.

Robyn Cathcart continues to manage her peanut allergy thanks to her hard work and ongoing treatment in our Oral Immunotherapy (OIT) Clinic. As a clear sign of her continuing progress, she’s now enjoying different foods formerly off limits to her. 

Read Her Story

Successful Peanut Oral Immunotherapy Provides Family with Peace of Mind

Tyler Saxton.

Tyler struggled with food allergies his entire life. But after successful peanut oral immunotherapy (OIT) he is now “desensitized” to peanuts, hasn’t had an allergic reaction and is back to enjoying life — and the occasional chocolate bar.

Read the blog post.

Food Allergy Program

The Food Allergy Program is led by Dr. Amal Assa’ad, Director of Clinical Services, Division of Allergy and Immunology. The goal of the Food Allergy Program is to improve the lives of patients with food allergies and their family members by providing expert care, innovative treatments and cutting-edge research.

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2017 NIAID Addendum Guidelines for Preventing Peanut Allergy

In 2015, findings from a landmark NIAID-funded clinical trial called the Learning Early About Peanut (LEAP) study showed that introducing peanut-containing foods to infants at high risk for developing peanut allergy was safe and led to an 81% relative reduction in the subsequent development of peanut allergy. Due to the strength of these results, NIAID established a coordinating committee that convened an expert panel to update the 2010 Guidelines to specifically address the prevention of peanut allergy. Amal H. Assa'ad, MD and Carina Venter, PhD, RD, contributed to the Addendum Guidelines for the Prevention of Peanut Allergy in the United States that were published in January 2017.

Read More