EPD - what is it?

Enzyme Potentiated Desensitisation (EPD) is a form of Immunotherapy (a form of treatment which involves introducing you to small amounts of the substance which you are allergic to and monitoring your reaction) and was first used in the early 1960s by Doctor Leonard M. McEwen.

He found that an injection containing a single dose of grass pollen with a very small amount of beta glucuronidase (an enzyme produced naturally by the body which appears to increase the effect of the allergen allowing a much smaller and therefore safer dose to be used) could be more effective in treating hay fever than a long course of conventional courses of antihistamines. Read more about antihistamines here.

EPD is usually used as a treatment for those with certain allergies which cause persistent and severe symptoms and affect the person’s daily life. Currently a small number of people may be suitable for this type of treatment through the NHS. Alternatively those wishing to try Immunotherapy or EPD may be able to find treatment through private clinics.

The treatment normally consists of an occasional small dose of the suspected allergen over a long period of time. This can be done through an injection (into the skin at a specialist clinic and overseen by a qualified medical professional), drops or tablets.EPD (enzyme potentiated desensitisation)

EPD has been shown to be most effective for treating hay fever, dust mite or animal allergies, allergic asthma and eczema, and food intolerances.  It is also being investigated for the treatment of a wide range of conditions including asthma, rhinitis, Crohn’s disease, rheumatoid arthritis, urticaria (hives), irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), migraine, chemical sensitivity, petit mal epilepsy, lupus, hyperactivity, ADD, ADHD, glue ear, neutropenia (a type of white blood cell deficiency) and psychological reactions such as depression and aggression.

EPD is still considered experimental by some doctors and allergists. With regard to safety, there have been no serious complications reported since it was first used. Further information on the talkhealth website.

Information contained in this Articles page has been written by talkhealth based on available medical evidence. Our evidence-based articles are certified by the Information Standard and our sources are available on request. The content is not, though, written by medical professionals and should never be considered a substitute for medical advice. You should always seek medical advice before changing your treatment routine. talkhealth does not endorse any specific products, brands, or treatments.

Information written by the talkhealth team

Last revised: 23 July 2016

Next review: 23 July 2018