Food allergy is becoming increasingly common among the pediatric population. Despite strict avoidance of food allergens, a subgroup of sensitive individuals still develop frequent, persistent and difficult to treat hives (FPDTH) for which there is no curative therapy. Although these cases are rare, these patients are in most need of therapy.
This is a retrospective review of 3 pediatric patients with highly sensitive food allergy who initially presented with hives daily or every other day, but achieved marked remission after traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) therapies. Patient 1 (P1) is a 5-year-old who had experienced 140 reactions in his lifetime. Reactions were mostly hives with 4 episodes of anaphylaxis. P1 had used Prednisone 20 times, had an Epinephrine injection 4 times and had 3 emergency room (ER) visits. Patient 2 (P2) is a 12-year-old who had experienced hives since age 3. Despite daily antihistamine use, P2 had > 730 reactions in his lifetime at the time of presentation including 2 episodes of anaphylaxis. He had been prescribed prednisone 4 times, an Epinephrine injection 2 times and had 1 ER visit. Patient 3 (P3) is a 20-month-old girl who had experienced > 120 reactions including 1 episode of anaphylaxis. She was on daily desonide and frequently used and antihistamine, yet still had required a course of prednisone once, an Epinephrine injection once and had 1 ER visit to manage her reaction. After presenting to our clinic, patients received internal and external TCM treatments, including herbal bath and creams (Remedy A-D) as basic remedies to reduce food reactions, including but not limited to frequent hives. Within 7–9 months of TCM treatment, remarkably all patients had complete remission of atopic symotoms. All three patients also experienced improvement in other conditions including food intolerance, diarrhea, anxiety, eczema, environmental allergies. After 1 year of treatment, all three patients had reductions in food-specific IgE levels that had been previously elevated, and additionally, P1 and P3, who initially had high total IgE levels, experienced marked decrease in total IgE levels as well. All three patients continued to introduce foods into their diet that they previously had reactions to, and all 3 patients remain symptom-free.
Three pediatric patients with known history of multiple food sensitivities and physician diagnosed food allergies that presented with FPDTH underwent TCM regimen and experienced dramatic improvement in symptoms and reduction in their IgE levels. This regimen appears to be effective in FPDTH population although further study in a controlled clinical setting is required.