Quality of life (QOL) of patients with food allergy improves following oral immunotherapy (OIT) but may be adversely affected by the treatment process itself.
Parents of children aged 4-12 years undergoing OIT for milk, peanut and egg allergies were recruited. Patient demographics and clinical histories before OIT, and their treatment course, including dose escalation rate, reactions and treatments required were recorded. The Food Allergy Quality of Life Questionnaire-Parental Form (FAQLQ-PF) was completed at the beginning and following 5 months of treatment. Patients with improved (reduction of >0.5 points), unchanged (reduction/increase of <0.5 points) and diminished (increase of >0.5 points) FAQLQ-PF scores were compared using Chi test and One-way Anova.
Of the 108 patients recruited, 18 were excluded, either because of incomplete questionnaires (n=17), or treatment failure (n=1). Of the remaining 90 patients (milk; n=48, peanut; n=37, egg; n=5), 46 were in the dose escalation phase and the remainders were in maintenance (full dose; n=37, and partial dose; n=7). Patients with improved (n=32), unchanged (n=39) and diminished (n=19) total score on the FAQLQ-PF did not differ in pre-OIT clinical histories, tolerated dose at treatment initiation, course of treatment (reactions, epinephrine use, rate of dose escalation) or stage of treatment. Patients with improved FAQLQ-PF total score had a significantly diminished score at baseline (4.36) compared to those with unchanged score (3.56, p=0.016) and decreased score (2.75, p<0.001).
Patients with diminished QOL before OIT benefit significantly during treatment. Those whose QOL is minimally affected at baseline might benefit from better preparedness for OIT.