Soy Formula Good Alternative to Cow's Milk for Allergic Infants

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) Mar 12 – Soy formula is generally well tolerated by infants with cow's milk allergy and soy allergy rarely develops, according to a report by Finnish investigators.
Soy formulas offer equivalent nutritional benefits as extensively hydrolyzed formulas, but are often cheaper and more palatable. Despite this, physicians are often reluctant to recommend soy formulas to cow's milk-allergic infants out of fear that it could lead to soy allergy or other adverse effects. While some reports have suggested that the incidence of these untoward effects is high, no prospective controlled trials have addressed the issue.

Dr. Timo Klemola, from Jorvi Hospital in Espoo, and colleagues assessed the outcomes of 170 infants with cow's milk allergy who were randomized to receive a soy formula or an extensively hydrolyzed formula. The children were followed to 2 years of age.

Adverse reactions to formula were noted in eight patients in the soy formula group and in two patients in the hydrolyzed formula group, the authors report in the February issue of The Journal of Pediatrics.

In the soy formula group, the prevalence of adverse reactions was similar in infants with and without IgE-associated milk allergy. Infants younger than 6 months were significantly more likely to experience an adverse reaction than older infants (p = 0.01). An IgE-associated allergy to soy only developed in 2 infants.

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