July 06, 2016

VIT Report: Allergy Blood Testing

Quick VIT Update: After 3 years of venom immunotherapy I insisted on a blood test to gauge my progress. Of course it was an exercise in you-have-to-educate-yourself-because-the-medical-professional-will-be-______ [insert unkind words].

While waiting for the results of my $195 RAST test to come in, I did some online research and this is what I learned. Allergy blood testing reveals the level of antibodies (IgE), which we've been reducing with each shot in the arm. The level correlates to reaction potential, lower numbers being better. Note that I say potential, as reactions just are not predictable. A person could have <1 kU/L (see chart below) and still suffer a severe allergic reaction.

SOURCE: http://ltd.aruplab.com/Tests/Pub/0055105
Armed with this info, when the call came that I was still "very" sensitive to honey bee, I didn't feel like I needed to ask many questions. My actual test results were 16.2 for honey bee and "about a 1" for the other bees I'm allergic to. While my allergy to paper wasp, whitefaced hornet, yellowfaced hornet and yellow­jackets is moderate, the allergist is recommending (given my not-covered-by-insurance situation) that I continue with just honeybee VIT. And that I refill my Epi-Pen prescription ($615 today, according to GoodRx.com).

And the single-venom antigen cost? Self-pay cost is $250 (less 20% for paying in cash) for 10 doses. If you want to check with your insurance company, the single venom code is 95145.