A partially hydrolyzed 100% whey formula and the risk of eczema and any allergy: an updated meta-analysis

World Allergy Organ J. 2017 Jul 26;10(1):27. doi: 10.1186/s40413-017-0158-z. eCollection 2017.


Background: Recently, the role of using hydrolyzed formula for the prevention of allergic disease has been questioned. However, not all hydrolyzed formulas are equal. The efficacy of each hydrolyzed formula should be established separately. We updated evidence on the effectiveness of using partially hydrolyzed 100% whey formula (pHF), manufactured by a single manufacturer, for reducing the risk of eczema and allergy in healthy infants at high risk for allergy.

Methods: The Cochrane Library, MEDLINE, and EMBASE databases were searched in June 2016 for randomized and quasi-randomized controlled trials (RCTs); additional data were obtained from reviewed articles and the authors of included trials.

Results: Thirteen publications reporting on eight RCTs were included. Use of pHF compared to cow's milk formula reduced the risk of eczema and all allergic diseases among children at high risk for allergy. Both intention-to-treat analyses and per-protocol analyses showed that the reduction was statistically significant at some, albeit not all, time points.

Conclusions: There is evidence to consider use of pHF as an option for reducing the risk of any allergic diseases, particularly eczema. However, the certainty of the evidence is low. One characteristic that makes our meta-analysis distinct from other reviews is that it focuses exclusively on only one type of pHF.

Keywords: Allergy; Children; Prevention; Protein hydrolysates; RCT.

Publication types

  • Review