top of page

Patient FAQ

  • Facebook
  • Instagram
  • YouTube
  • Twitter

Here's a list of the most frequently asked questions from patients

What does IBS-80 do?

IBS-80 testing identifies food allergies that may cause Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). The IBS symptoms may improve or disappear by eliminating these foods from the diet.

How can a food patch test reaction on the skin be connected to IBS symptoms?

The theory behind IBS-80 is that an allergic reaction similar to what happens on the skin from the food patch test occurs in the intestine’s lining when the same food is eaten, causing IBS symptoms. The allergic reaction in the skin is called a "type 4" delayed hypersensitivity reaction or allergic contact dermatitis (similar to poison ivy). The IBS symptoms may improve or disappear upon eliminating the food from the diet.

How are foods selected for the testing?

All the food allergens used for the testing are commonly found in our food supply and are known to cause allergic contact dermatitis (type 4 allergies) in the skin. We have carefully selected the foods over a twelve year period based on results from three clinical studies. All are safe to eat as typically encountered in the food supply.

Can I be tested if I have known food allergies?


If you have any known food or food additive allergies, report them to your provider before your provider orders  IBS-80. They will be excluded from your patch tests.

How do the foods used for IBS testing differ from the foods typically tested for by other methods?

Skin prick testing and RAST blood testing search for type 1 allergies, which involve antibodies and histamine. Type 1 allergies cause hives and anaphylaxis and are caused by foods such as peanuts and shellfish. Foods that cause type 1 allergies typically are different from foods that cause type 4 allergies. Type 1 allergy testing has been studied and is generally not helpful in evaluating IBS.

How are the foods prepared for patch testing?

Foods for patch testing are prepared by licensed compounding pharmacists at The Compounding Pharmacist in West Chester, PA, following Pennsylvania Pharmacy Board good manufacturing practices and United States Pharmacopeia Chapter 795 guidelines.

What will I have to do?

Your provider will give you detailed instructions before the administration of IBS-80.

Find additional information here.

Are there potential side effects to IBS-80?


If you are allergic to any tested foods or food additives, you may develop a small red itchy spot or bump at each skin test. While generally mild, a severe reaction could blister or create an open sore at the test site. You may temporarily need a medicated cream to relieve these itching or burning sensations. 


On rare occasions, it may be necessary to remove the test strips before the standard 48-hour test time because of severe itching. Occasionally, a dark or light spot at the test site appears during healing. Healing with or without medication usually takes place within two weeks, although reactions in some individuals may persist longer. Some dark or light scars may last for months but are rarely permanent.


Very rarely, anaphylactic (immediate allergic) reactions have occurred with skin patch testing. Should hives, sweating, dizziness, wheezing, or shortness of breath occur after application of the patch tests, you should remove the patches yourself and inform your provider immediately. This reaction may need emergency care such as epinephrine injections and breathing support.


Rarely, patch testing may cause a new allergy to one or more screened substances to develop. Such an allergy may cause a rash if you later touch the substance to which you have become allergic or an upset stomach if you eat it. The skin inflammation can be treated effectively with over-the-counter or prescription creams if necessary. A test reaction that appears seven days later with no initial response may signify a newly developed allergy.


The panel tape is hypoallergenic and the individual chambers are composed of additive-free polyethylene foam. The adhesive used in the panels is acrylate-based and processed to remove free monomers that may be allergenic. Reactions to the tape or adhesive rarely occur.

Who should not participate in this testing?

You should not participate if you:

1. are pregnant

2. have a severe rash

3. have a severe allergy to adhesive tape

4. have received cortisone-containing or other immunosuppressive medications a week before or during the testing (Prednisone 10 mg or less per day is okay)

5. have applied any topical corticosteroid (a.k.a "steroid" or "cortisone") medications on your back within two weeks before testing

6. have within four weeks of testing received more than minimal sun exposure on the areas of skin to be used for the IBS patch test


Note: Antihistamines will not interfere with the testing

Does insurance cover IBS-80 testing?


Some healthcare insurers cover the testing, and others do not. Before scheduling, your provider may be able to check on insurance coverage for you. Or, you may check with your health insurer yourself. Typically, IBS billing uses diagnosis code K58.9 (IBS), and the procedure code for patch testing is 95044 (80 units).

bottom of page