Elimination diets in the management of eosinophilic esophagitis

Wechsler, J. B.; Schwartz, S.; Amsden, K.; Kagalwalla, A. F.

J Asthma Allergy. 2014 Jun 13; 7:85-94

Abstract

Eosinophilic esophagitis, an increasingly recognized chronic inflammatory disorder isolated to the esophagus, is triggered by an abnormal allergic response to dietary antigens. Current treatment includes swallowed topical steroids and dietary modification, which aim to resolve symptoms and prevent long-term complications such as formation of strictures. The dietary approach has become more widely accepted because long-term steroid therapy is associated with potential risks. Dietary treatment includes elemental and elimination diets. An exclusive elemental diet, which requires replacement of all intact protein with amino acid-based formula, offers the best response of all available therapies, with remission in up to 96% of subjects proving it to be superior to all other available therapies including topical steroids. However, compliance with this approach is challenging because of poor taste and monotony. The high cost of formula and the associated psychosocial problems are additional drawbacks of this approach. Empiric and allergy test-directed elimination diets have gained popularity given that elimination of a limited number of foods is much easier and as such is more readily acceptable. There is a growing body of literature supporting this type of therapy in both children and adults. This paper reviews the evidence for all types of dietary therapy in eosinophilic esophagitis.

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