When changing the diet does not correct a child’s eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE) symptoms or following a strict diet is not feasible, our staff may look to place a child on medications that can help with the EoE symptoms. The CHOC Children’s Eosinophilic Esophagitis Clinic is always working with drug companies and researchers to find better alternative treatments for EoE.
Many children benefit from taking swallowed steroids. Fluticasone propionate and budesonide are steroid medicines that were developed for asthma. Instead of inhaling these medicines like asthma patients, children with EoE swallow them. When patients take the medicine on a daily basis, it “coats” the esophagus with the steroid medicine, destroys the eosinophils and helps the esophagus heal. These medications are safe for growing children, as after it is swallowed, it passes through the body and is eliminated without dangerous side effects. These medications are different than anabolic steroids.
Steroid medications destroy the eosinophils in the esophagus so they cannot cause inflammation or tissue damage but do not solve the root of the EoE problem. Because food allergies are believed to be a major cause of EoE symptoms, when a patient stops taking the steroid medication, the eosinophils almost always return.
CHOC Children’s is a leader in the diagnosis and treatment of EoE. Our team of allergists and gastroenterologists is involved in a variety of research studies to help find improved treatments for EoE. Clinical trial treatments are available to all patients for whom the experimental treatment may be appropriate. All patient participation is at the discretion of the child’s physicians and family. Clinical trial participation is not required to attend the EoE clinic. Patients and families interested in clinical trials should speak with our staff during their clinic visit or contact our office.