Randomized controlled trial of early regular egg intake to prevent egg allergy

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Abstract

Background:

The ideal age to introduce egg into the infant diet has been debated for the past 2 decades in the context of rising rates of egg allergy.

Objective:

We sought to determine whether regular consumption of egg protein from age 4 to 6 months reduces the risk of IgE-mediated egg allergy in infants with hereditary risk, but without eczema.

Methods:

Infants aged 4 to 6 months were randomly allocated to receive daily pasteurized raw whole egg powder (n = 407) or a color-matched rice powder (n = 413) to age 10 months. All infants followed an egg-free diet and cooked egg was introduced to both groups at age 10 months. The primary outcome was IgE-mediated egg allergy defined by a positive pasteurized raw egg challenge and egg sensitization at age 12 months.

Results:

There was no difference between groups in the percentage of infants with IgE-mediated egg allergy (egg 7.0% vs control 10.3%; adjusted relative risk, 0.75; 95% CI, 0.48–1.17; P = .20). A higher proportion of participants in the egg group stopped taking the study powder because of a confirmed allergic reaction (25 of 407 [6.1%] compared with 6 of 413 [1.5%]). Egg-specific IgG4 levels were substantially higher in the egg group at 12 months (median, 1.22 mgA/L vs control 0.07 mgA/L; P < .0001).

Conclusions:

We found no evidence that regular egg intake from age 4 to 6 months substantially alters the risk of egg allergy by age 1 year in infants who are at hereditary risk of allergic disease and had no eczema symptoms at study entry.

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