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What is Cluster Immunotherapy?

Allergy immunotherapy is the medical term for a very effective treatment to help you become less allergic. Cluster immunotherapy is a process of giving allergy shots to treat your underlying allergies but unlike conventional immunotherapy, Cluster Immunotherapy allows the patient to reach their “maintenance dose” over a period of weeks, rather than months, thus allowing the patient to experience the benefits of immunotherapy sooner. Learn more about Cluster Immunotherapy

Helping our community and raising Asthma Awareness.

Our free asthma screening event on Saturday, May 26th at the Hillsdale Mall was a huge success.  We had many visitors and the turnout was very successful.  It was great fun and we were thrilled to have had an opportunity to educate the public.  There were excellent questions being asked and we were more than happy to answer them. We were delighted to see that even some of our own patients came to visit thanking us for helping the community learn more about this very treatable condition. We particularly enjoyed our interactions with the children who seemed to enjoy blowing into the spirometer as hard as they could to test their lung function!  Here are some pictures of the event.

Aspirin allergy and heart disease prevention

It is a well known fact that aspirin therapy is of extreme benefit for most cardiovascular patients, both in primary and secondary prevention of coronary artery disease (CAD). Long -term aspirin therapy reduces mortality in CAD patients after an initial coronary event. Aspirin therapy also significantly reduces major adverse cardiovascular events after coronary intervention procedures. Consequently, patients who have to avoid aspirin due to an allergy are at a significant disadvantage. However, proper classification of aspirin allergic patients and the potential for aspirin desensitization therapy would open up use of this highly cost effective therapy for cardiovascular patients. It is recognized by the American Heart Association that aspirin desensitization protocols facilitate optimal management of the cardiovascular patient with aspirin allergy.

Aspirin allergy and Asthma/Sinus Disease

According to Scripps Clinic and Research Foundation, a study of aspirin hypersensitivity shows that approximately 15% of all asthma patients and 40% of asthmatics with nasal polyps and sinusitis are allergic to aspirin. Aspirin-Exacerbated Respiratory Disease (AERD) consists of asthma, nasal and sinus polyps and a respiratory sensitivity to aspirin and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (such as ibuprofen and naproxen). Patients with this syndrome have progressive inflammatory disease of the upper and lower respiratory tracts. The disease is often difficult to control and frequently requires multiple sinus operations and treatment with oral corticosteroids. Researchers at Scripps found that desensitizing AERD patients, in order for them to be able to take aspirin for other conditions, resulted in improvement in their upper and lower respiratory tract inflammation. The goal of aspirin desensitization is to follow it with long-term aspirin treatment, which has been shown to be effective in reducing upper and lower respiratory inflammation in these patients.

There are several ways patients with AERD benefit from aspirin desensitization treatment, in addition to its cardiovascular benefits:

  •  it can reduce your need for oral corticosteroids
  •  reduce the number of sinus surgeries.
  •  reduce the number of sinus infections
  •  reduce nasal congestion
  •  improve asthma symptoms
  •  reduce hospital visits related to asthma
  •  it can actually improve your sense of smell

We now provide aspirin desensitization treatments in our office. If you or someone you know have a concern about aspirin sensitivity and think you might benefit from this treatment, please contact us to discuss it. The treatment is safe and is performed in a controlled environment, using a successful, clinically proven protocol.

We now have Penicillin allergy testing available at our clinic

It is estimated that penicillin allergy is greatly overstated and a lot more people think they are allergic to penicillin than really are. Approximately 85% of patients who describe themselves as penicillin allergic will have negative skin tests and can safely receive penicillin. PrePen is the only FDA approved skin test for the diagnosis of penicillin allergy and we are excited to offer this service to our patients.

Penicillin allergy testing not only benefits patients, but also physicians and other health care providers, as well as surrounding communities. These benefits include fighting resistant bacteria and offering less expensive treatments for patients. As many of you know, drug-resistant bacteria pose a major public health threat in today’s world. Many patients thought to be allergic to penicillin are treated with very potent antibiotics which are often quite expensive. Continued use of these antibiotics may lead to increased drug-resistant bacteria, limited availability of alternative treatment for more severe infections, and greater side effect profiles.

How does one undergo Penicillin allergy testing?

After obtaining your medical history, you and your healthcare provider will decide if you are a candidate to undergo this evaluation. Penicillin allergy testing is performed via skin tests and if the skin tests are essentially negative, an “oral challenge” to penicillin is performed. Negative test results using PrePen indicate a 97% confidence that the patient can be treated without the fear of a life threatening reaction if they are to take an antibiotic in the penicillin family. It is important to note that penicillin allergy testing may be contraindicated in those patients who have had a systemic reaction to penicillin. However, many patients with a history of penicillin allergy had a rash many years ago or were told when they were younger that they were allergic to penicillin but do not remember the details. Most of the time, these people are good candidates for penicillin allergy testing and will be found not to be allergic to this antibiotic—thus making treatment of future infections much safer and less expensive.

If you or someone you know would like to consider undergoing an allergy evaluation to penicillin, please contact our office and our staff will be happy to assist you.