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Medscape: Childhood Cow's Milk Allergy Raises Healthcare Costs

By Lorraine L. Janeczko

Managing children's cow's milk allergy is costly to families and to healthcare systems, largely owing to costs of prescriptions, according to an industry-sponsored study based on data from the United Kingdom.

"This large cohort study provides novel evidence of a significant health economic burden of cow's milk allergy in children," write lead study author Abbie L. Cawood, PhD, RNutr, MICR, head of scientific affairs at Nutricia Ltd in Trowbridge, and her colleagues write in Clinical and Translational Allergy.

Cow's milk allergy, an immune‐mediated response to one or more proteins in cow's milk, is one of the most common childhood food allergies and affects 2%-5% of infants in Europe. Management involves avoiding cow's milk protein and treating possible related gastrointestinal, skin, respiratory, and other allergic conditions, the authors explain.

The researchers found:

  • Medications were prescribed to significantly more children with cow's milk allergy (CMA), at a higher rate, than to those without CMA. In particular, prescriptions for antireflux medication increased by almost 500%.
  • Children with CMA needed significantly more healthcare contacts and at a higher rate than those without CMA.
  • CMA was linked with additional potential healthcare costs of £1381.53 per person per year. Assuming a 2.5% prevalence from the estimated 2%-5% CMA prevalence range and extrapolating to the UK infant population, CMA may have added more than £25.7 million in annual healthcare costs nationwide.

Jodi A. Shroba, MSN, APRN, CPNP, the coordinator for the Food Allergy Program at Children's Mercy Kansas City, Missouri, did not find these numbers surprising.

"Children with food allergies typically have other atopic comorbidities that require more visits to primary care physicians and specialists and more prescriptions," Shroba, who also was not involved in the study, said by email.


Read the full article via Medscape

Allergy and Immunology at Children's Mercy

Children's Mercy Food Allergy Center