Parental therapy preferences for children with food allergy
Siracusa, Mary Lizetta
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BACKGROUND: Pediatric food allergy is increasing in prevalence, and a number of potential immunotherapies are being developed in an attempt to address this health issue. However, there have been no studies investigating parental concerns and priorities regarding selecting a potential immunotherapy for their child. OBJECTIVES: To describe parental immunotherapy preferences and the factors influencing those preferences. METHODS: A survey was developed to understand parental food allergy therapy preferences. Cognitive interviews were performed with parents of food-allergic children (n = 6) to ensure the feasibility and comprehensibility of the survey. The online survey was then disseminated to parents of children with food allergies via social media venues from February 1, 2016 to March 7, 2016 (N = 246). Descriptive statistics were used to report and analyze the attitudes and perceptions of parents considering enrolling their child in a food allergy therapy. RESULTS: Among parents of food-allergic children, 50% (n = 123) reported that if food allergy therapies were made publicly available, they would enroll their children in a therapy. Survey data demonstrated that 69.5% (n = 171) of participants ranked epicutaneous immunotherapy (EPIT) as their first choice, (22.8%, n = 56) ranked oral immunotherapy (OIT) as their first choice, and 7.7% (n = 19) ranked sublingual immunotherapy (SLIT) as their first choice. The majority of parents (62.60%, n = 154) cited the safety profile of a specific therapy as the principal factor influencing their choice of preferred immunotherapy. CONCLUSION: This study suggests that many parents would choose to enroll their children in a food allergy therapy if given the opportunity. The majority of parents participating in this study preferred EPIT to OIT and SLIT. Though comfort and efficacy are important factors when choosing an immunotherapy, the principal concern of participants was the safety profile of the therapy.