The TEST (Trial of Eczema allergy Screening Tests) Study: feasibility randomised controlled trial with economic scoping and nested qualitative study
- Principal Investigator: Matt Ridd
- 1 October 2017 to 30 November 2019
- Project No: 383
- Funding round: FR 14
Many parents worry that food allergies cause eczema. If a food cause sudden, severe reactions then they have to be avoided. However, for children who “just” have eczema, we don’t know whether avoiding certain foods makes any difference to eczema symptoms. Allergy tests are imperfect and experts disagree whether they should be offered. Patients and doctors agree that this problem is a research priority.
Our study will help decide whether routine allergy tests for children with eczema are helpful or not. The best way to do this is in a clinical trial. Because of the lack of research in this area, we want to first run a smaller version of what the main study might look like.
80 children will take part. Half will receive usual care from their GP. The other half will be asked extra questions and offered skin prick allergy tests. This involves “pricking” small drops of six common allergy-causing foods (cow's milk, peanut, hen's egg, codfish, wheat and cashew) into the skin and noting any local reaction (swelling). If the results are unclear, some children will need to be observed eating some of the food(s) at their local hospital. Depending on what the tests show, parents will be told what foods are safe or should be avoided. We will follow everyone up for six months and interview some parents and GPs to find out what they think about the tests and the study itself.
At the end of this project, we will know how well a bigger study like this would work. We will also have a better understanding of what parents and GPs think about food allergies and tests in children with eczema. If we show that the main study is possible, we will apply for funding to do it.