George Gottlieb, M.D., FAAIA, FACA, Diplomate, American Board of Allergy and Immunology, in partnership with DeKalb Medical’s Kahn Outpatient Cancer Center, offers a rapid desensitization treatment program that allows cancer patients who are allergic to their chemotherapy medication to receive the drug that is most effective for their cancer diagnosis.
Until recently, allergic reactions have prevented some cancer patients from getting the best treatment available for their cancer. Allergic reactions can cause symptoms ranging from excruciating pain to vomiting,� weakness or worse, anaphylactic shock a life-threatening condition that moves quickly, causing difficulty breathing, dizziness, swelling of the tongue and bronchial tubes, low blood pressure and heart failure. ��� Patients may then need to be switched to another cancer medication that is not as effective.
�When a patient develops an allergy to an essential drug needed for treatment, we have to find alternative drugs, says Betty Castellani, D.Min., Director of the Kahn Outpatient Cancer Center. Often, the other chemo drugs are less effective or more toxic than the preferred options. This new program offered by Dr. Gottlieb provides us with the means to continue treating a patient with the drug of choice.� We are very excited to � offer this protocol to patients who have been forced to halt a treatment because of a drug allergy,� adds Castellani.
As a board-certified Allergist and Immunologist, Dr. Gottlieb spends much of his time helping patients tolerate things they need but which cause them to have allergic reactions. And he’s always looking for new ways to help his patients.� Dr. Gottlieb believed he could offer a way to desensitize patients who are allergic to chemotherapy.� He created an outpatient program at DeKalb Medical to help cancer patients whose bodies have rejected the chemotherapy medications that they need to treat their cancer.� Over the past year, he has successfully completed over 60 of chemotherapy desensitizations.� These included desensitizations for a variety of drugs used to destroy cancer cells, including carboplatin, oxaliplatin, cisplatin, retuximab and paclitaxol.� Rapid desensitization sessions last a total of 6 to 8 hours.� Patients take gentle premedications that include oral antihistamines, ibuprofen and aspirin, before the sessions.
Dr. Gottlieb says, I’m very grateful to partner with the DeKalb Medical’s Kahn Outpatient Cancer Center and� work with the outstanding pharmacists and nurses there.� The work of the pharmacist is critical. The chemo ingredients can be toxic if they are inhaled or contact the skin. The mixture has to be prepared behind a glass enclosure by a highly skilled pharmacist wearing special gloves and protective clothing.� In addition, the Center has excellent nurses and advanced monitoring equipment that allows immediate intervention if the
patient starts having a reaction to the chemotherapy.
The chemo desensitization program at DeKalb Medical is available to patients and cancer specialists in the� Atlanta area.� Those interested can call (404)294-4761 for more information.
Dr. Gottlieb received his Bachelor of Chemical Engineering from the City University of New York. He attended� New York University School of Medicine and interned at Cornell Medical School.� Dr. Gottlieb is a Diplomat of� American Board of Allergy & Immunology, Fellow of the American Academy of Allergy & Immunology, and Fellow of� the American College of Allergists.