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11 April 2017

Battling Cold Urticaria with Asthma Medications

Img: Manuel Allergy Center 
We’ve spoken before about the unusual condition that is cold urticaria, or cold-induced hives as it is sometimes known, which is basically an allergy to cold conditions. Those who suffer from the rare condition face significant struggles in going about their daily lives, particularly in countries such as our own which have a bit of a reputation  for unpleasant weather. For sufferers of cold urticaria, this ‘unpleasantness’ can pose a real danger.

Now, a new study conducted by researchers from Charite University in Berlin and published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology may have made a breakthrough in regards to the treatment of cold urticaria, making use of a medicine designed for a different condition altogether to startlingly positive effect.

The medicine in questions is the monoclonal antibody omalizumab, which is widely used as a treatment for asthma and is hopefully easier to administer than it is to pronounce. Over the course of the small study, researchers gave doses of omalizumab to two groups – the first group containing 61 patients with symptomatic dermographism (a different yet related form of inducible urticaria), and the second consisting of 31 patients with cold urticaria – over a period of 3 months.

Their results show that omalizumab has a positive effect on both groups, lessening the severity of symptoms by a significant level. In just under half of the tested patients, omalizumab was able to prevent the onset of symptoms entirely, even when exposed to stimuli that was typically provoke a reaction.

“Our results show that patients with severe forms of physical urticaria can benefit from treatment with omalizumab,” Dr. Martin Metz, a professor at Charite University who was involved in the study, stated in a press release.

At present, the drug is only licensed for use in patients with traditional hives, and not the cold-induced variety.

“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,” Metz concluded.


Sam Bonson

Sam is an aspiring novelist with a passion for fantasy and crime thrillers. He is currently working as a content writer, journalist & editor in an attempt to expand his horizons.