Urticaria-1

Novartis announces Omalizumab: Treatment of Chronic Urticarial

Treatment for Hives

News about the treatment of chronic urticarial (hives).  The announcement by Novartis that their new drug Omalizumab is effective in the reduction of symptoms caused by chronic urticarial has been well received by dermatologists.  Not only this, but the drug is through phase III clinical trials in the UK and should be available on prescription soon although for NHS prescription, this will depend on the drug first being approved by the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE).

Omalizumabis a monoclonal antibody that targets the free-floating immune molecules thought to contribute to urticarial, asthma and eczema; Immunoglobulin E (IgE).  By reducing levels of IgE in the blood stream, there is the potential to reduce the allergic effects in these conditions.

Urticaria is a common skin condition that can occur as a single episode (acute urticaria), or less commonly, it may recur multiple times for longer than 6 weeks (chronic urticaria).  Urticaria is due to the immune system releasing histamine into the skin. This substances cause the redness, swelling and itching. The rash can last from minutes to hours but often disappears without a trace within 24 hours. A trigger for urticaria can be identified in some cases.  More information can be found here.