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Omalizumab Drug: Asthma Medication Could Help Skin Disorder Patients

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  • Skin disorder like urticaria or hives results in red itchy patches on the skin.
  • New study finds asthma medication to be significantly beneficial in treating urticaria.
  • Omalizumab drug found to improve symptoms in patients with physical or inducible forms.

Omalizumab Drug: Asthma Medication Could Help Skin Disorder Patients

Omalizumab drug used in the treatment of asthma may benefit patients who develop itchy wheals in response to cold or friction.

A research team from the Charite-Universitatsmedizin Berlin conducted two separate clinical trial studies which showed that the drug's active substance to be highly effective against the various types of urticaria.

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The study results were published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.

Clinical Trials
A research team from the Department of Dermatology, Venereology and Allergology conducted two randomized placebo-controlled trials on omalizumab drug to treat two different patient groups for three months.

Out of the two patient groups, one group had 61 patients with symptomatic dermographism and the other group had 31 patients with cold urticaria.

The research team also used objective measurement techniques to determine the provocation threshold values and find out the efficacy of the test.

The initial measurements were carried out after the first administration of the drug. After the administration of the second dose, measurements were made at a four-week interval. This was followed by a final measurement two weeks after the final dose.

The study findings revealed that
Omalizumab drug treatment may lead to significant improvements in symptoms from both the group of patients.

The drug was found to prevent the symptoms in nearly half of the patients, even after exposure to stimuli.

Prof.Dr. Martin Metz, said, "Our results show that patients with severe forms of physical urticaria can benefit from treatment with omalizumab."

"However, given our data on the drug's effectiveness in patients with cold urticaria and symptomatic dermographism, we are hopeful that the drug will be made available to both of these patient groups." He added.

Omalizumab drug is currently only licensed for patients with traditional hives known as urticaria.

What is Urticaria?
Urticaria or hives may affect around 20% of people at some point during their life. The condition may cause wheals which are usually spots or red patches of skin.

The wheals may be itchy, painful or and can cause burning sensation. Urticaria may also cause swelling of various parts of the body.

Urticaria can be classified according to its duration as

  • Acute urticaria (lesser than 6 weeks)
  • Chronic urticaria (greater than 6 weeks)
Inducible urticaria or physical urticaria includes various forms. Itchy wheals often characterize cold urticaria and symptomatic dermographism which may develop in response to physical stimuli like cold or friction.

Patients with cold urticaria may not go for swimming in the sea without risking for an allergic reaction that leads to shock. While symptomatic dermographism in patients may result in itching, even with gentle friction caused by clothing or physical contact.

Urticaria patients often experience a reduced quality of life, and are forced to make adjustments to both their social and working lives.

  1. Martin Metz, Andrea Schütz, Karsten Weller, Marina Gorczyza, Sebastian Zimmer, Petra Staubach, Hans F. Merk, Marcus Maurer. Omalizumab is Effective in Cold Urticaria - Results of a Randomized, Placebo Controlled Trial. Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, (2017); DOI: 10.1016/j.jaci.2017.01.043
  2. Hives (Urticaria) - (http://acaai.org/allergies/types/skin-allergies/hives-urticaria)
  3. Urticaria - (http://www.dermnetnz.org/topics/urticaria-an-overview/ )

Source: Medindia

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