Author(s): Ortonne JP
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Abstract Urticaria is a heterogeneous group of debilitating skin disorders characterized by wheals, pruritus, and frequently angioedema. The various forms of urticaria are often chronic and can exact a toll on quality of life. New diagnostic criteria and management guidelines are available to assist primary care physicians in the identification and proper treatment of different subtypes of urticaria. Second-generation antihistamines are recommended as first-line therapy because of their high degree of efficacy and safety. It is important to note, however, that European indications for most agents in this class are limited to specific forms of urticaria. The exception is desloratadine, the only second-generation antihistamine approved for the treatment of all urticaria subtypes in the European Union. Guidelines and best practice suggest that doses of antihistamines up to 4 times higher than those normally recommended for urticaria may benefit patients who do not respond to standard doses of antihistamines. Adjunctive therapy with leukotriene receptor antagonists may be advantageous in certain subgroups of patients who have suboptimal responses to antihistamine monotherapy. In all cases, physicians should work closely with patients to ensure proper adherence to prescribed regimens-a component that is often lacking but holds the key to successful outcomes. Copyright © 2011 European Federation of Internal Medicine. Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
This article was published in Eur J Intern Med
and referenced in Pharmaceutica Analytica Acta