About IBS-80

IBS-80 is a new safe, painless, non-invasive way of identifying foods that may cause IBS. It uses traditional skin patch testing to identify food allergies by placing patches containing foods and food additives on your back for two days (no needles are used) and then looking to see if you have allergic reactions to any of the foods. If you have any reactions, you are instructed to eliminate those foods from your diet. For many people, when they stop eating the food(s) that caused the reaction(s), their IBS symptoms improve significantly or go away.

How is it New?

This is a common question. Many people have had the old skin prick tests and RAST blood tests to test for food allergies and ask why IBS-80 is different. These old tests look for what are called Type 1 allergies and are generally not worthwhile in the evaluation of IBS.* Patch testing tests for Type 4 allergies, which are a completely different type of allergy that are not detectable by those old tests. Until now, patch testing for this type of allergy was never investigated for IBS.

IBS-80 is the end result of ten years of refining. The foods being tested have been carefully selected and are known to cause skin patch test reactions. Published clinical studies have shown that over 60% of those tested benefit. (Study 1, Study 2.) This link between Type 4 allergies and IBS is a giant breakthrough in the evaluation and treatment of IBS.

* Guidelines for the Diagnosis and Management of Food Allergy in the United States. Boyce JA, Arshad SA, Assa’ad A, Bahna SL, Beck LA, Burks AW, et al. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2010;126:S1–58.

How it Works

Before Beginning
Your medical provider will instruct you to avoid direct sun exposure on your back for 4 weeks prior to having the patch tests applied. Sun may decrease your skin’s ability to mount an immune response to the test materials. You should also avoid taking any cortisone-containing or other immunosuppressive medications in the week prior to and during the testing.
Individuals with hair on their upper and/or mid back should shave it off two days before their appointment. Do not use chemical hair removers.

Take a bath or shower the morning you come for your first appointment but do not apply any lotions or other products to your back after the shower.

Day 1
On your first office visit the medical provider will apply the patches, either 8 or 11 depending on what you and your doctor decide. Each patch consists of ten individual wells containing different foods aligned on strips of hypoallergenic adhesive tape (see upper row left) and taped to your upper and mid back (upper row middle and upper row right). You must avoid excessive sweating and avoid leaning over/bending your back too much for the next 2 days so that the patch tests stay in place.
Day 3
After two days, your medical provider removes the patches and patch test sites are outlined with a black marker (lower row left) and the first patch test reading is performed. At this point, you may bathe as you normally would except that you will be asked to avoid directly washing your back until after the final patch test reading 1 or 2 days later so that the black marker lines remain visible until after the final reading.
Day 4 or 5
One or two days after your second visit, you return to the office for the final patch test reading. If you have any allergic reactions (lower row right), the specific food(s) will be identified and you will be given information to help you avoid those  foods. It is then up to you to avoid these foods and see if your IBS symptoms go away.
Your improvement may occur within 24 hours or possibly longer. If there is no improvement after one month of strict avoidance of the foods in question, you would be unlikely to improve at that point and can add the foods in question back to your diet.

Who Cannot Participate

Inform your medical provider if you have any known food allergies and what type of reaction you have when you eat or touch the food. You should not be tested for any foods to which you have developed hives or have had a severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis).
Also, you should not undergo the patch testing if you are pregnant, breastfeeding, have a severe rash, are allergic to adhesive tape, or taking any immunosuppressive medications such as Prednisone (more than 10 mg), chemotherapy or medications used to prevent organ transplant rejection during the patch testing or in the week preceding the patch testing.