Tolerance induction through early feeding to prevent food allergy in infants with eczema (TEFFA): rationale, study design, and methods of a randomized controlled trial


  • B. Kalb
  • L. Meixner
  • V. Trendelenburg
  • N. Unterleider
  • J. Dobbertin-Welsch
  • S. Heller
  • S. Dölle-Bierke
  • S. Roll
  • S. Lau
  • Y.A. Lee
  • F. Fauchère
  • J. Braun
  • M. Babina
  • S. Altrichter
  • T. Birkner
  • M. Worm
  • K. Beyer


  • Trials


  • Trials 23 (1): 210


  • BACKGROUND: Up to 8% of all children in industrialized countries suffer from food allergies, whereas children with atopic eczema are affected considerably more frequently. In addition, the type and starting time of weaning foods seem to influence the development of food allergies. However, data from interventional studies on weaning are controversial. The aim of this randomized-controlled clinical trial is to investigate, whether an early introduction of hen's egg (HE), cow's milk (CM), peanut (PN), and hazelnut (HN) in children with atopic eczema can reduce the risk for developing food allergies in the first year of life. METHODS: This is a protocol for a randomized, placebo controlled, double blind, single-center clinical trial. One hundred fifty infants with atopic eczema at 4-8 months of age will be randomized in a 2:1 manner into an active group that will receive rusk-like biscuit powder with HE, CM, PN, and HN (initially approximately 2 mg of each food protein) for 6-8 months or a placebo group, whose participants will receive the same rusk-like biscuit powder without HE, CM, PN, and HN on a daily basis. During the interventional period, the amount of allergens in the study product will be increased three times, each after 6 weeks. All study participants who are sensitized to HE, CM, PN, or HN at the end of the interventional period will undergo an oral food challenge to the respective food in a further visit. Primary endpoint is IgE-mediated food allergy to at least one of the four foods (HE, CM, PN or HN) after 6-8 months of intervention (i.e., at around 1 year of age). Secondary endpoints include multiple food allergies, severity of eczema, wheezing, and sensitization levels against food allergens. DISCUSSION: This clinical trial will assess whether an early introduction of allergenic foods into the diet of children with atopic eczema can prevent the development of food allergies. This trial will contribute to update food allergy prevention guidelines. TRIAL REGISTRATION: German Clinical Trials Register DRKS00016770 . Registered on 09 January 2020.