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ACAAI: Non-Allergists Differ in Approach to Food Allergies

More non-allergists use unproven methods for diagnosis and treatment

MONDAY, Nov. 20 (HealthDay News) -- A survey suggests that non-allergists are more likely to use unproven methods to diagnose and treat food allergies compared with allergists, according to a study presented Nov. 12 at the annual meeting of the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology in Philadelphia.

Sami L. Bahna, M.D., from Louisiana State University Medical Center in Shreveport, and colleagues surveyed 584 allergists and 77 non-allergists (internists, family practitioners, pediatricians and otolaryngologists) on their approaches to the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of food allergies. The subjects completed a two-page questionnaire.

The researchers found that a smaller percentage of non-allergists recommended proven diagnostic methods such as sIgE and oral challenges and instead recommended methods such as leukocytotoxic tests and sIgG4. More non-allergists considered open and single-blind challenges inadequate for patients under six years of age. More non-allergists used treatment methods such as conventional elimination diets and rotation diets rather than elimination of proven food allergens, according to the study.

"There are marked variations between non-allergist and allergist physicians in the reported causes, methods of diagnosis, treatment and prevention of food allergy," Bahna and colleagues conclude. "More non-allergists than allergists utilize unproven methods of diagnosis and treatment."

For more information, go to the Web site of the ACAAI's annual meeting (More Information).

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