Objective: This review summarizes the research and clinical evidence in favour of dietary intervention aimed at eliminating allergenic foods in the management of atopic eczema/dermatitis syndrome (AEDS).
Data sources: The data source was PubMed, using a search algorithm selecting for clinical studies of AEDS, diet therapy and food allergy in all children to October 2003. Also included is a commentary based on the authors' clinical experience in the allergy unit of a university hospital in Italy.
Results: Fourteen prospective studies matched the entry criteria. Diverse trial designs, diagnostic criteria, types of dietary intervention and length of observation periods precluded meta-analytic methods. Allergenic food exclusion claimed efficacy in 13 of the 14 studies and was most useful in infants, in patients with elevated immunoglobulin E levels and/or multiple food sensitization and in patients with a diagnosis of food allergy.
Conclusion: Dietary intervention in the form of an elimination diet is efficacious in children with AEDS when a specific diagnosis of food allergy has been made. Diagnostic evaluation of food allergy should be performed in all children with eczema, particularly in younger children and those with severe forms of the disease.
Copyright 2004 Blackwell Munksgaard