F1000Research (2016-02-01)

Advances in Understanding and Managing Chronic Urticaria [version 1; referees: 2 approved]

  • Yasmin Moolani,
  • Charles Lynde,
  • Gordon Sussman

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 5


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There have been recent advances in the classification and management of chronic urticaria. The new term chronic spontaneous urticaria (CSU) has replaced chronic idiopathic urticaria and chronic autoimmune urticaria. In addition, chronic inducible urticaria (CINDU) has replaced physical urticaria and includes other forms of inducible urticaria, such as cholinergic and aquagenic urticaria. Furthermore, novel research has resulted in a new understanding with guidelines being revised in the past year by both the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology (AAAAI) and the European Academy of Allergy and Clinical Immunology (EAACI)/Global Allergy and Asthma European Network (GA2LEN)/European Dermatology Forum (EDF)/World Allergy Organization (WAO). There are some differences in the recommendations, which will be discussed, but the core updates are common to both groups. The basic treatment for chronic urticaria involves second-generation non-sedating non-impairing H1 antihistamines as first-line treatment. This is followed by up to a 4-fold increase in the licensed dose of these H1 antihistamines. The major therapeutic advance in recent years has been in third-line treatment with omalizumab, a humanized monoclonal anti-immunoglobulin E (anti-IgE) antibody that prevents binding of IgE to the high-affinity IgE receptor. Several multicenter randomized controlled trials have shown safety and efficacy of omalizumab for CSU. There are also some small studies showing efficacy of omalizumab in CINDU. While there were previously many treatment options which were lacking in strong evidence, we are moving into an era where the treatment algorithm for chronic urticaria is simplified and contains more evidence-based, effective, and less toxic treatment options.