An unproven technique with potentially fatal outcome: Provocation/neutralization in a patient with systemic mastocytosis

Suzanne S Teuber, Phillip J. Vogt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

23 Scopus citations

Abstract

Objective: To describe the risks associated with use of an unproven technique, provocation/neutralization, in diagnosis and treatment of a putative 'food allergy; in a patient with systemic mastocytosis. Methods: A case report of a 68-year-old woman with mastocytosis is reported. The patient was interviewed, examined, and all medical records were reviewed. Photos were taken, and skin and colonic biopsies were performed. Results: The patient was previously diagnosed with urticaria pigmentosa but also had significant diarrhea that was well-controlled by oral cromolyn sodium. She saw a physician who practiced provocation/neutralization and was told that food allergies were the cause of her gastrointestinal symptoms. She was placed on 'neutralizing' injections of milk and wheat, but experienced flushing, palpitations, and lightheadedness with syncope upon injections into her thigh, which is a skin area highly involved by visible lesions of cutaneous mastocytosis. Later evaluation revealed increased numbers of mast cells in her colonic mucosa as well as confirmation of cutaneous mastocytosis. Conclusions: The patient's previous history of urticaria pigmentosa, orally communicated by the patient, documented in medical records, and easily visible on physical examination, was discounted by a practitioner of an alternative and unproven medical treatment, provocation/neutralization. She subsequently had potentially life-threatening reactions to 'provocative' skin testing and 'neutralizing' injections. Patients with systemic mastocytosis are at risk for significant mast cell mediator release during immunotherapy, conventional or alternative.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)61-65
Number of pages5
JournalAnnals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology
Volume82
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1999

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy

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