Skin vs. RAST
Skin vs. RAST
Advantages of RAST Testing vs. Skin Testing
The discovery of Immunoglobulin E (IgE) in the 1960s as the reagin responsible for allergic symptoms led to the development of practical blood tests for the diagnosis of allergy. A modification of a commercially available RAST test by Drs. Fadal and Nalebuff in the 1970s produced allergy test results that were very accurate, and upon which an optimal starting dose for immunotherapy could be based. The advantages of Modified RAST over skin testing are many:
- A simple blood draw minimizes patient discomfort and significantly reduces both staff and patient time spent on allergy testing.
- Unlike skin tests, a RAST test is not dependent on skin conditions and can be used on any patient.
- Patients can continue allergy medication use. Skin testing mandates the patient be off many medications for two weeks prior to testing.
- Not subject to the skin test technique used, or the reading and interpretation of skin reactions by the person performing the test.
- A cost-effective screen performed along with a Total IgE can often rule out allergy as the cause of patient symptoms prompting the Physician to pursue other diagnoses.
- Positive RAST results are accurately quantified allowing the patient to start immunotherapy at an optimal dose for the level of the patient’s sensitivity to each allergen. Reduces potential for adverse reactions.
- Results in cost savings:
- Eliminates treating allergy symptoms in negative patients.
- Effective Allergy treatment lowers emergency room visits.
- Accurate diagnoses allow patients to avoid some allergic triggers.
- Reduces the time span of immunotherapy before achieving results.