By Dr. Larry Chiaramonte
Last week I wrote about a US study that showed how excessive reliance on blood IgE tests results in diagnosing food allergies in avoidance of more foods than necessary. This week a European study echoes those findings and puts a price tag on it.
Subjects were assessed using the gold-standard DBPCFC (double-blind placebo controlled food challenge) as the criterion in a study by EuroPrevall, the biggest food allergy research organization in Europe:
Forty-two patients were enrolled. Twenty-one patients had a negative DBPCFC and the suspect food was reintroduced into their diets. Comparing total direct costs before and after the DBPCFC, the reactive group spent a significantly higher amount (median increase of $813.1 over baseline), while the tolerant group’s spending decreased by a median of $87.3 (P=.031). The amount of money spent on food 6 months after diagnosis was also significantly higher in the reactive group (P=.040). Finally, a larger, but not statistically significant, decrease in total indirect costs was observed in the tolerant group compared with the reactive group ($538.3 vs $32.3).
Photograph from unc.org