PURPOSE: Chronic urticaria (CU) is a common and debilitating disease, and the need for effective treatment has increased. Omalizumab may be an alternative regimen in patients with CU who do not respond to conventional treatments. The aim of this study is to investigate the efficacy and to observe the clinical results of omlizumab in patients with refractory CU.
METHODS: We conducted a retrospective analysis of 26 patients with refractory CU who were treated with omalizumab. Omalizumab was administered every 2 or 4 weeks, depending on body weight and the total serum IgE level, for 24 weeks.
RESULTS: Fourteen patients (53.8%) achieved remission after the treatment; they had a significantly higher prevalence of personal (P=0.033) and family history of allergic diseases (P=0.002) than those who did not achieve remission. During omalizumab treatment, the urticaria activity score declined significantly (12.11±1.97 to 2.7±4.23; P=0.001) and the CU-quality of life score improved significantly (34.65±13.58 to 60.88±11.11; P=0.004). There were significant decreases in the use of systemic steroids (42.3%-11.5%; P=0.027) and immunomodulators (65.4%-19.2%; P=0.002). The dose of antihistamines required to control CU also decreased significantly (215.66±70.06 to 60.85±70.53 mg/week of loratadine equivalents; P<0.001). No serious adverse event was noted.
CONCLUSIONS: These findings suggest that omalizumab can be an effective and safe treatment in patients with refractory CU.
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