Prevention of Allergic Sensitization and Treatment of Cow's Milk Protein Allergy in Early Life: The Middle-East Step-Down Consensus


26 June 2019


doi: 10.3390/nu11071444


Allergy risk has become a significant public health issue with increasing prevalence. Exclusive breastfeeding is recommended for the first six months of life, but this recommendation is poorly adhered to in many parts of the world, including the Middle-East region, putting infants at risk of developing allergic sensitization and disorders. When breastfeeding is not possible or not adequate, a partially hydrolyzed whey formula (pHF-W) has shown proven benefits of preventing allergy, mainly atopic eczema, in children with a genetic risk. Therefore, besides stimulating breastfeeding, early identification of infants at risk for developing atopic disease and replacing commonly used formula based on intact cow milk protein (CMP) with a clinically proven pHF-W formula is of paramount importance for allergy prevention. If the child is affected by cow's milk protein allergy (CMPA), expert guidelines recommend extensively hydrolyzed formula (eHF), or an amino acid formula (AAF) in case of severe symptoms. The Middle-East region has a unique practice of utilizing pHF-W as a step-down between eHF or AAF and intact CMP, which could be of benefit. The region is very heterogeneous with different levels of clinical practice, and as allergic disorders may be seen by healthcare professionals of different specialties with different levels of expertise, there is a great variability in preventive and treatment approaches within the region itself. During a consensus meeting, a new approach was discussed and unanimously approved by all participants, introducing the use of pHF-W in the therapeutic management of CMPA. This novel approach could be of worldwide benefit.

Keywords: Middle-East; cow’s milk protein allergy; hydrolysate; infant allergy; infant feeding; partial hydrolysate; step-down.

Conflict of interest statement

Yvan Vandenplas has participated as a clinical investigator, and/or advisory board member, and/or consultant, and/or speaker for Abbott Nutrition, Astel Medica, Danone, Nestle Health Science, Nestle Nutrition Institute, Nutricia, Mead Johnson Nutrition, United Pharmaceuticals, and Wyeth. None of the other authors have a conflict of interest.