Overwhelming reliance on food allergy tests may result in inaccurate diagnosis

A significant number of children are placed on food elimination diets based on the positive results of radioallergosorbent test (RAST)/ImmunoCaps. Researchers reviewed data taken from children evaluated for food allergy at the National Jewish Health (NJ) and a local allergy practice that carried out oral food challenges (OFCs) to egg, milk, peanut, soy and wheat, based on the results found at the NJH.

The results showed that of 142 OFCs carried out, based on positive RAST/ImmunoCap tests, 109 were negative. Given that this meant that 23% of OFCs carried out were negative, in the absence of anaphylaxis, OFCs should be carried out to confirm food allergy, as most of the children were placed on unnecessary food elimination diets.

Source: Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology

First published in May 2009

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