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Cow's milk elimination: a novel dietary approach to treat eosinophilic esophagitis

Kagalwalla, A. F.; Amsden, K.; Shah, A.; Ritz, S.; Manuel-Rubio, M.; Dunne, K.; Nelson, S. P.; Wershil, B. K.; Melin-Aldana, H.

J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr. 2012 Jul 24; 55(6):711-6


OBJECTIVES: Cow's-milk protein is one of the food antigens responsible for causing eosinophilic esophageal inflammation in a majority of children. We describe our experience with treating eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE) in children by eliminating only cow's milk from their diets. METHODS: This retrospective study assessed the short-term clinical and histological response to eliminating cow's-milk protein from the diet of children with EoE. Only patients undergoing a subsequent upper endoscopy to assess their histological response were included in this analysis. RESULTS: We identified 17 (12 boys and 5 girls) children with EoE who excluded only cow's milk from their diet. Remission was induced in 11 of 17 (65%) patients; within the remission group, 7 (41%) achieved complete histological remission and 4 patients (24%) were in significant histological remission. The mean peak pre- and posttreatment counts for those in remission were 76 +/- 40 and 2 +/- 4 (P < 0.01), respectively. CONCLUSIONS: Elimination of cow's milk-induced clinical and histological remission in 65% (95% confidence interval 42%-88%) of children with EoE in whom it was attempted. This approach offers distinct advantages over other dietary treatment approaches for the initial management of children with EoE. The role of eliminating cow's milk alone for the treatment of EoE warrants further prospective study.

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