Guidelines may lead to over-diagnoses of milk allergy in infants

In an analysis of data on 1,303 healthy infants who were exclusively breastfed until at least 3 months of age, 38% and 74% of infants had multiple mild-to-moderate milk allergy symptoms- as defined by current allergy guidelines- at 3 months and 12 months old, respectively.

The findings, which are published in Clinical & Experimental Allergy, suggest that following current guidelines may lead to over-diagnoses in infants by labeling normal infant symptoms as possible milk allergies.

“There is an assumption that the existence of a guideline is more beneficial than no guideline. However, well-meaning guidelines need to be supported by robust data to avoid harms from over-diagnosis that exceed the damage of missed and delayed cow’s milk allergy diagnoses that they are seeking to prevent,” the authors wrote.


Journal reference:

Vincent, R., et al. (2021) Frequency of guideline-defined cow’s milk allergy symptoms in infants: Secondary analysis of EAT trial data. Clinical & Experimental Allergy.