The natural history of IgE-mediated cow's milk allergy

Justin M. Skripak, Elizabeth C. Matsui, Kim Mudd, Robert A. Wood

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: Cow's milk allergy (CMA) is the most common food allergy in infants and young children, affecting 2% to 3% of the general population. Most studies have shown the prognosis of developing tolerance to cow's milk to be good, with most outgrowing their allergy by age 3 years. Objective: To define the natural course of CMA and identify the factors that best predict outcome in a large referral population of children with CMA. Methods: Clinical history, test results, and final outcome were collected on 807 patients with IgE-mediated CMA. Patients were considered tolerant after they passed a challenge or experienced no reactions in the past 12 months and had a cow's milk IgE (cm-IgE) level <3 kU/L. Results: Rates of resolution were 19% by age 4 years, 42% by age 8 years, 64% by age 12 years, and 79% by 16 years. Patients with persistent allergy had higher cm-IgE levels at all ages to age 16 years. The highest cm-IgE for each patient, defined as peak cm-IgE, was found to be highly predictive of outcome (P < .001). Coexisting asthma (P < .001) and allergic rhinitis (P < .001) were also significant predictors of outcome. Conclusion: The prognosis for CMA in this population is worse than previously reported. However, some patients developed tolerance during adolescence, indicating that follow-up and re-evaluation of CMA patients is important in their care. cm-IgE level is highly predictive of outcome. Clinical implications: The increasing potential for persistence of CMA, along with cm-IgE level's effect on prognosis, should be considered when counseling families regarding expected clinical course.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1172-1177
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology
Volume120
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 2007

Keywords

  • Cow's milk
  • IgE
  • food allergy
  • prognosis
  • tolerance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology

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