Eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE) is a chronic disease of the esophagus. Your esophagus is the muscular tube that carries food and liquids from your mouth to the stomach. If you have EoE, white blood cells called eosinophils build up in your esophagus. This causes damage and inflammation, which can cause pain and may lead to trouble swallowing and food getting stuck in your throat.
EoE is rare. But because it is a newly recognized disease, more people are now getting diagnosed with it. Some people who think that they have reflux (GERD) may actually have EoE.
Researchers are not certain about the exact cause of EoE. They think that it is an immune system/allergic reaction to foods or to substances in your environment, such as dust mites, animal dander, pollen, and molds. Certain genes may also play a role in EoE.
EoE can affect anyone, but it is more common in people who:
The most common symptoms of EoE can depend on your age.
In infants and toddlers::
In older children::
To diagnose EoE, your doctor will:
There is no cure for EoE. Treatments can manage your symptoms and prevent further damage. The two main types of treatments are medicines and diet.
Medicines used to treat EoE are:
Dietary changes for EoE include:
Which treatment your health care provider suggests depends on different factors, including your age. Some people may use more than one kind of treatment. Researchers are still trying to understand EoE and how best to treat it.
If your treatment is not working well enough and you have narrowing of the esophagus, you may need dilation. This is a procedure to stretch the esophagus. This makes it easier for you to swallow.
Source: MedlinePlus, National Library of Medicine.
MedlinePlus brings together authoritative health information from the National Library of Medicine (NLM), the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and other government agencies and health-related organizations.
Dupilumab (Dupixent) is the only medical therapy to date that has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat eosinophilic esophagitis. Dupixent is an injectable medication called a monoclonal antibody (or biologic) that is administered weekly. It reduces the inflammation associated with the disease and improves patients’ ability to swallow food.
In May 2022, it was approved in patients 12 years of age and older weighing at least 40 kilograms (or about 88 pounds).
On January 25, 2024, the FDA approved dupilumab (Dupixent), for the treatment of EoE in children aged 1-11 years and weighing ≥ 15 kg. It is the first and only medicine approved to treat these patients.
Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research
North American Society for Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology, and Nutrition
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