• allergy prevention;
  • cow milk allergy/intolerance;
  • hypoallergenic formula;
  • extensively hydrolysed casein formula;
  • ultrafiltrated whey hydrolysate formula

In a prospective study of a 1-year birth cohort of 158 high-risk infants the effect of feeding breastmilk, a casein hydrolysate (Nutramigen®) or a new ultrafiltrated whey hydrolysate (Profylac®) on the development of cow milk protein allergy/intolerance (CMPA/CMPI) was assessed and compared. All the infants had biparental or severe single atopic predisposition, the latter combined with cord blood IgE ≥ 0. 5 kU/L. At birth all infants were randomized to Nutramigen or Profylac, which was used when breastfeeding was insufficient or not possible during the first 6 months of life. During the same period this regimen was combined with avoidance of solid foods and cow milk protein. All mothers had unrestricted diets and were encouraged to do breastfeeding only. Moreover, avoidance of daily exposure to tobacco smoking, furred pets and dust-collecting materials in the the bedroom was advised. The infants were followed prospectively from birth to 18 months of age. All possible atopic symptoms were registered and controlled elimination/challenge studies were performed when symptoms suggested CMPA/CMPI. A total of 154 (97%) were followed up and 141 followed the diet strictly. Eighty-eight (62%) of the infants were breastfed for at least 6 months, 20 (14%) were breastfed exclusively, 59 and 62 had varying amounts of Nutramigen or Profylac respectively. CMPA/CMPI was diagnosed in 1/20, 1/59 and 3/62 in the breastfed, the Nutramigen and Profylac groups respectively, but 1 of the latter also had Nutramigen. None of the infants showed reactions against Nutramigen or Profylac. In 4 infants symptoms were provoked by breastmilk when the mother ingested cow milk and in 1 only by cow milk. The incidence of CMPA/CMPI among the infants who followed the dietary prevention programme was 3. 6% (5/141) which was a significant reduction compared to 20% (15/75) in an identically defined high-risk group without dietary preventive measures. None of the infants in the prevention group developed CMPA/CMPI after the age of 6 months. We conclude that feeding breastmilk, an extensively hydrolysed casein formula (Nutramigen) or an ultrafiltrated whey hydrolysate (Profylac) combined with avoidance of solid foods during the first 6 months of life in high-risk infants significantly reduced the cumulative incidence of CMPA/CMPI during the first 18 months of life. No difference was noted whether the infants were fed breastmilk, Nutramigen or Profylac and a diet period of 6 months seems sufficient. Both formulae were well tolerated and accepted by the infants.