Oral Immunotherapy for Children with Cow's Milk Allergy: A Practical Approach

Children (Basel). 2022 Nov 30;9(12):1872. doi: 10.3390/children9121872.


Cow milk allergy (CMA) is a prevalent disease in childhood. Natural history is usually favorable as CMA can disappear by school age in many subjects. Diagnosis corresponds to treatment, as an elimination diet is a solution. However, cow's milk (CM) is real food, hardly replaceable. Thus, CM reintroduction represents a demanding challenge in clinical practice. The induction of CM tolerance could be achievable using oral immunotherapy (OIT), such as the administration of increasing milk quantities until reaching tolerance. However, the OIT schedule and procedure need to be better standardized, and performance may vary widely. Therefore, the present study reports the practical experience of a third-level pediatric allergy center in managing children with CMA and submitting them to OIT. OFC and OIT are relatively safe procedures as the reaction rate is low. Almost two-thirds of the OIT subjects tolerated CM. Reactions were associated with high IgE levels. Therefore, the present experience, developed by a qualified center, may suggest and propose a practical approach for managing children with CMA. After the initial workup, including a thorough history, physical examination, and laboratory tests, OFC and, when indicated, OIT could be performed in most children with CMA.

Keywords: adverse reaction; children; desensitization; milk allergy; oral immunotherapy; tolerance.

Grants and funding

This research was partially funded by the Italian Ministry of Health (Ricerca Corrente).