Allergic to Essential Medication?

Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital September 22, 2016

mast-cell-blog

Serious allergic reactions, including anaphylaxis, occur when mast cell chemicals flood the body, causing an array of acute symptoms.

What do you do when your body is not tolerating a medication that you need?

Patients fighting cancer, severe infections, autoimmune disorders, and many other conditions may become sensitized to the very drugs that are most effective in treating their diseases. These patients can suffer serious allergy symptoms, such as hives, flushing, itching, shortness of breath, wheezing, hypotension, and even anaphylaxis – a severe life-threatening allergic reaction.

Because of the potential allergic reaction upon re-exposure to these drugs, these patients are often told that they can no longer be treated with their best medication. A technique called drug desensitization can be used to help these patients get back on their medications.

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Peanut Allergy: New Evidence that It Can Be Prevented

Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital April 19, 2016

Recent research suggests that peanut allergy can be prevented through the early introduction of peanut into a child’s diet.

Recent research suggests that peanut allergy can be prevented through the early introduction of peanut into a child’s diet.

Contributor: Joyce T. Hsu, MD, is a food allergy specialist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Instructor in Medicine at Harvard Medical School.

In only the last 13 years, the prevalence of peanut allergy in the U.S. has quadrupled. Recent research, however, strongly suggests that peanut allergy – now the nation’s leading cause of food allergy-related anaphylaxis and death – can be prevented through the early introduction of peanut into a child’s diet. According to Dr. Hsu, the Learning Early about Peanut Allergy (LEAP) study may represent the key to reversing our society’s disturbing food allergy trend.

“LEAP may be the most pivotal food allergy study for our generation,” says Dr. Hsu. “Since the results were released last year, we have been trying to increase awareness about this new thinking for peanut allergy.”

The former thinking, at least in this country, says Dr. Hsu, was that parents should avoid giving their children highly allergenic foods during the first few years of life. In 2000, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommended that children deemed to be at risk of developing food allergy not eat peanuts until the age of three. However, cases of peanut allergy continued to rise, and the AAP withdrew its recommendation in 2008. Read More »