Partially hydrolyzed infant formulas that contain whey-protein do not protect against atopic dermatitis and should probably not be given to infants who are allergic to milk, according to an FDA review published online.
Carolyn S. Chung, PhD, of the FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Dietary Supplements, said the FDA looked into these formulas, which have been dubbed hypoallergenic, to determine whether they assisted in the prevention of atopic dermatitis, as claimed on the product labeling.
Chung cited research by Lowe and colleagues published last year that looked at hypoallergenic infant formulas and involved 620 infants who were followed for about 7 years. Results of Lowe’s study found no benefit of using the formula over normal cows’ milk-based formulas, according to findings of a special review article in Pediatrics.
According to Chung and colleagues, these results, along with other published studies, were enough evidence to conclude “very little scientific evidence suggests that, for healthy infants who are not exclusively breast-fed and who have a family history of allergy, feeding a 100% when-protein partially hydrolyzed infant formula … instead of a formula containing intact cow’s milk proteins may reduce the risk of developing atopic dermatitis.”
Furthermore, the FDA recommended that manufacturers change the product label so as to discourage use of these formulas in infants who are allergic to milk or who have existing milk allergies because of the significant public health risk associated with feeding these formulas to such infants, according to the researchers.
Disclosure: Dr. Chung reports no relevant financial disclosures.