Adults and children with drug sensitivities are eligible for the Drug Desensitization Program, which was established by the Division of Allergy and Immunology. The Program, one of a few of its kind in the United States, has a specialized team of experts dedicated to researching possible genetic and immunological causes for hypersensitivities and developing future desensitization therapies.
Although millions of Americans suffer from drug sensitivities that trigger their allergies, many patients' lives depend on taking the very drugs to which they are allergic. However, few patients know that there are other treatment options. The Drug Desensitization Program, led by Elina Jerschow, MD, an allergy and immunology specialist, offers full evaluation services to treat common and uncommon drug reactions that may be life threatening. Tests conducted to correctly diagnose whether a patient is hypersensitive to a particular drug include skin prick and patch testing, as well as other tests for allergic sensitivity. In certain cases, we perform in vitro blood testing.
If patients test positively for drug allergies, the experts at Montefiore Medical Center may recommend a drug desensitization procedure that will allow patients to become desensitized to the drug they need to manage their conditions. Depending on their initial reaction, some patients undergo rapid desensitization, starting with varying degrees of diluted medicine administered at small increments over a period of time. In other cases, a patient is exposed to gradually increasing amounts of the known allergen to decrease sensitivity to the drug. Desensitization often limits the severity of an allergic reaction, allowing most patients to be able to take the medicines. During these procedures, the physician and a nurse closely supervise patients and monitor their symptoms.