People suffering from chronic hives who are unable to get relief from traditional antihistamine treatment can be helped with a high dosage of a commonly used asthma drug.
The study, published in The New England Journal of Medicine, involved 323 patients from 55 health centers who were between 12 and 75 years of age. The participants were divided into four groups and were given a placebo or dosing regimens of the drug, omalizumab, in 75mg, 150mg or 300mg strengths over a period of 12 weeks.
At the end of four months, the researchers found that those who were given a placebo experienced 37 percent less itching while those who received 75mg, 150mg and 300mg doses of omalizumab experienced 41 percent, 57 percent and 71 percent less itching.
"Patients suffering with this condition need more and better treatment options because chronic hives and rash are profoundly hard to treat and can be very debilitating. Physicians and patients may now have a fast, safe and well-tolerated treatment option to consider before prescribing even more antihistamines, which can be highly sedating", Johns Hopkins' Sarbjit Saini said.