Asthma Drug Improves Symptoms in Patients with Severe Type of Hives


Omalizumab shows benefit in patients with skin disorder.

Two separate clinical studies found that a drug commonly used to treat asthma significantly improved symptoms in patients with cold urticaria and symptomatic dermographism.

The 2 investigator-initiated, multicenter, randomized, placebo-controlled trials used the monoclonal antibody omalizumab to treat 2 different patient groups for a period of 3 months. Sixty-one patients had symptomatic dermographism and 31 patients had cold urticarial.

To test the treatment’s efficacy, the investigators used objective measurement techniques to determine provocation threshold values for all study participants. After the second dose was administered, measurements were repeated at 4-weekly intervals, followed by a final measurement 2 weeks after the final dose.

The results of the study published in theJournal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, found that treatment with omalizumab significantly improved symptoms in both patient groups, and it prevented symptoms in nearly half of all patients with cold urticarial and symptomatic dermographism, even after exposure to the relevant stimuli.

“Our results show that patients with severe forms of physical urticarial can benefit from treatment with omalizumab,” said investigator Dr Martin Metz. “However, given our data on the drug’s effectiveness in patients with cold urticarial and symptomatic dermographism, we are hopeful that the drug will be made available to both of these patient groups.”

Omalizumabis currently only licensed for the treatment of patients with chronic spontaneous urticaria.

Cold urticaria and symptomatic dermographism are different forms ofinducible urticaria, which develops in response to physical stimuli such as cold or friction.

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