A High Proportion of Canadian Allergists Offer Oral Immunotherapy but Barriers Remain
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BACKGROUND: Limited data on clinical implementation of oral immunotherapy (OIT) have been reported with incomplete evaluation of barriers. OBJECTIVE: To survey Canadian allergists on their current practice of OIT and barriers to implementation and expansion of OIT. METHODS: A survey investigating current practice and logistical and clinical barriers to offering or expanding OIT was distributed to all Canadian Society of Allergy and Clinical Immunology allergists. RESULTS: Of 90 responding allergists, 52.2% reported offering OIT, most commonly to peanut. Food sublingual immunotherapy was offered by 7% of allergists. Having received training for OIT was associated with currently performing OIT (P = .008); 44.7% of allergists offering OIT had received training on OIT, and 81.4% not offering OIT had no training. A total of 87% of allergists performing OIT reported lack of efficacy data and lack of support staff and clinic space, and concerns about increased oral challenges (84%) were "moderately" to "extremely" important barriers to expanding OIT. For clinicians not offering OIT, concerns about safety (95%), after-hours support (95%), efficacy (93%), medicolegal risk (93%), and long-term practice implications (93%) were prioritized as significant barriers. Qualitative assessment suggested concerns about the practical challenges associated with OIT, the need for increased safety and efficacy data, and a desire for OIT guidelines and training. CONCLUSION: The implementation of OIT faces many barriers, both clinical and logistical. Increasing high-quality safety and efficacy data may support those hesitant to offer OIT, and improving funding may address the practical infrastructure challenges. In addition, training will help expand access for allergists interested in performing OIT.
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