• amino acid formula;
  • budget impact;
  • cost;
  • cost-effectiveness;
  • cow milk allergy;
  • eHF;
  • extensively hydrolysed formula;
  • Neocate;
  • Nutramigen;
  • resource use;
  • soy;
  • UK

To cite this article: Taylor RR, Sladkevicius E, Panca M, Lack G, Guest JF. Cost-effectiveness of using an extensively hydrolysed formula compared to an amino acid formula as first-line treatment for cow milk allergy in the UK. Pediatric Allergy Immunology 2012: 23: 240–249.


Objective:  To estimate the cost-effectiveness of using an extensively hydrolysed formula (eHF; Nutramigen) compared with an amino acid formula (AAF; Neocate) as first-line treatment for cow milk allergy (CMA) in the UK, from the perspective of the National Health Service (NHS).

Method:  A decision model was constructed depicting the treatment paths and associated resource use attributable to first-line management of CMA with the two formulae. The model was based on the case records of 145 AAF-treated infants and 150 matched eHF-treated patients from The Health Improvement Network (THIN) database [a nationally representative database of patients registered with general practitioners (GPs) in the UK]. The model estimated the costs and consequences of patient management over 12 months following their initial GP visit for CMA.

Results:  Patients presenting with a combination of gastrointestinal symptoms and eczema accounted for 44% of all patients in both groups. Those with gastrointestinal symptoms alone and eczema alone accounted for up to a further 39% and 13%, respectively. Those with urticaria and faltering growth accounted for <5% and ≤6% of all patients, respectively. Patients’ age and weight at presentation was a mean 2.6–2.8 months and 4.4 kg, respectively. It took a mean 2.2 months to start a formula after initially seeing a GP. Time to symptom resolution following the start of treatment was 1.2 months in both groups; hence, the mean number of symptom-free months during the 12 months following the initial GP visit was estimated to be 8.6 months in both groups. Patients treated with an eHF had a mean 13.1 GP visits over the 12 months compared to 17.5 visits made by AAF-treated patients (p < 0.001). The NHS cost of managing a CMA infant over the first 12 months following initial presentation to a GP was estimated to be £1853 and £3161 for an eHF-treated and AAF-treated patient, respectively.

Conclusion:  Starting treatment for CMA with an eHF was the cost-effective option, as there were no significant differences in clinical outcomes between the two groups. A prospective, randomized controlled trial would allow a definitive confirmation of these findings.