In theory it ought to be possible to desensitize subjects with food allergy by giving injections of gradually increasing quantities of an appropriate extract of the food trigger. In practice, such treatment is not available. One at present insurmountable difficulty is that desensitization (also known as hyposensitiza-tion) treatment carries a small risk of death from the treatment itself. A subject has a series of injections without any major problem, but then without warning drops dead from anaphylaxis after the next injection. There is some data to show that desensi-tization performed in this way can work, but such subjects would probably require maintenance injections on a permanent basis, and the very subjects most at risk of fatal anaphylaxis from accidental injection are quite probably also the ones most at risk from fatal anaphylaxis resulting from desensiti-zation treatment.
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