Quality of Life of Food-Allergic Patients Before, During, and After Oral Immunotherapy

Na'ama Epstein-Rigbi, Michael R. Goldberg, Michael B. Levy, Liat Nachshon, Arnon Elizur

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Oral immunotherapy (OIT) for food allergy is demanding but data on patients’ quality of life (QOL) throughout the process are limited. Objective: To characterize changes in QOL of food-allergic patients during and after OIT. Methods: In a prospective cohort study, the Food Allergy Quality of Life Questionnaire—Parental Form (FAQLQ-PF) was administered to parents of 191 consecutive children aged 4 to 12 years undergoing OIT for food allergy. Questionnaires were administered at OIT initiation, mid up-dosing, upon reaching maintenance, and after 6 months of follow-up. Age- and sex-matched food-allergic children (n = 48) not undergoing OIT served as controls. Results: FAQLQ-PF scores had significantly improved (decreased) from OIT initiation to reaching full maintenance (emotional impact [EI], 3.66-3.32, P =.001; food anxiety [FA], 3.90-3.32, P <.001; social and dietary limitation [SDL], 3.50-2.94, P <.001; and total score, 3.69-3.19, P <.001) and partial maintenance, whereas no change was noted in control patients. Worse baseline QOL, single food allergy, and a younger age predicted greater QOL improvement. Of the 85 (88.5%) patients who completed the FAQLQ-PF at mid up-dosing and for whom QOL deteriorated, a significant improvement was noted upon reaching maintenance. Additional significant improvement in QOL was observed in the 95 (88.8%) patients who completed the FAQLQ-PF 6 months after reaching maintenance (EI, 3.414-2.993, P = 0.049; FA, 3.37-2.593, P =.001; SDL, 2.989-2.264, P =.001; and total score, 3.266-2.614, P =.001). Conclusion: The QOL of food-allergic children improves significantly upon reaching OIT maintenance, with additional improvement 6 months later. The detrimental effect of OIT on some patients’ QOL during up-dosing is reversed upon reaching maintenance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)429-436.e2
JournalJournal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology: In Practice
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2019


  • Desensitization
  • Follow-up
  • Maintenance
  • Oral immunotherapy
  • Quality of life
  • Up-dosing phase


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