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Oral immunotherapy for cow's milk allergy

Passalacqua, Giovanni; Landi, Massimo; Pajno, Giovanni B.

Current Opinion in Allergy and Clinical Immunology: June 2012 - Volume 12 - Issue 3 - p 271–277
doi: 10.1097/ACI.0b013e3283535b93
FOOD ALLERGY: Edited by Alessandro Fiocchi and Julie Wang

Purpose of review Cow's milk allergy (CMA) is common in children and may lead to severe systemic reactions. Avoidance of the ingestion of cow milk is the only effective approach, but this does not exclude the inadvertent or accidental ingestion, or the assumption of milk hidden in other foods. As no pharmacological treatment is available, specific desensitization has been considered an attractive strategy.

Recent findings In the last years, several trials of oral desensitization to cow milk, with different protocols, were published. Overall the results were favourable and demonstrated the achievement of a full tolerance in a high percentage of children. Mild side effects that can be easily managed by slowing the desensitization were reported frequently. The discontinuation of the procedure was necessary in less than 20% of children, on average, due to severe side effects.

Summary Oral immunotherapy (oral desensitization) seems to be a promising treatment strategy for cow milk allergy in children that can be applied also to other foods such as eggs or peanuts.

aAllergy and Respiratory Diseases, DIMI, University of Genoa

bPediatric National Healthcare System, Turin

cDepartment of Pediatrics, Allergy Unit, University of Messina, Messina, Italy

Correspondence to Giovanni Passalacqua, MD, Allergy and Respiratory Diseases, University of Genoa, Pad.Maragliano, L.go R.Benzi 10, 16132 Genoa, Italy. Tel: +39 01 0353 8933; fax: +39 01 0353 8904; e-mail:

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