The impact of double-blind placebo-controlled food challenge (DBPCFC) on the socioeconomic cost of food allergy in Europe

I. Cerecedo, J. Zamora, M. Fox, J. Voordouw, N. Plana, E. Rokicka, M. Fernandez-Rivas, S. Vázquez Cortés, M. Reche, A. Fiandor, M. Kowalski, G. Antonides, M. Mugford, L. J. Frewer, B. de la Hoz Caballer

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Background: Double-blind placebo controlled food challenge (DBPCFC) is the gold standard diagnostic test in food allergy because it minimizes diagnostic bias.
Objective: To investigate the potential effect of diagnosis on the socioeconomic costs of food allergy.
Methods: A prospective longitudinal cost analysis study was conducted in Spain and Poland within the EuroPrevall project. Food-allergic patients were enrolled into the study and in all cases diagnosis was confirmed through a standardized DBPCFC. Data were collected through a self-administered survey on all aspects of health and social care resource use, costs of living, and costs of leisure activities.
Costs were measured before and 6 months after the DBPCFC and reported in international dollars with 2007 as the benchmark year.
Results: Forty-two patients were enrolled. Twenty-one patients had a negative DBPCFC and the suspected food was reintroduced into their diet. Comparing total direct costs before and after the DBPCFC, the reactive group spent a significantly higher amount (median increase of $813.1 over baseline), while the tolerant group’s spending decreased by a median of $87.3 (P=.031). The amount of money spent on food 6 months after diagnosis was also significantly higher in the reactive group (P=.040). Finally, a larger, but not statistically significant, decrease in total indirect costs was observed in the tolerant group compared with the reactive group ($538.3 vs $32.3).
Conclusion: DBPCFC has an impact on indirect and direct costs of living. The main contribution to this increase was money spent on food.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)418-424
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Investigational Allergology & Clinical Immunology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • Food allergy
  • Double-Blind Placebo-Controlled Food Challenge
  • Diagnosis
  • Socioeconomic impact

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