Omalizumab is an effective and rapidly acting therapy in difficult-to-treat chronic urticaria: a retrospective clinical analysis

Martin Metz, Tatevik Ohanyan, Martin K Church, Marcus Maurer
Journal of Dermatological Science 2014, 73 (1): 57-62

BACKGROUND: Omalizumab (anti-IgE) therapy is effective and safe in chronic urticaria (CU) in placebo-controlled clinical trials but real life clinical data are scarce.

OBJECTIVE: To better understand the effects of omalizumab in CU patients treated outside of clinical trials.

METHODS: In this retrospective clinical analysis, we assessed responder rates, optimal dosage, response to up-/downdosing, time to relief of symptoms, rates of return and time of relapse after omalizumab administration, and safety in 51 CU patients, 20 with chronic spontaneous urticaria (CSU) alone, 21 with different forms of chronic inducible urticaria (CindU) and 10 with both.

RESULTS: Omalizumab treatment led to complete remission in 83% of CSU and 70% of CindU patients. When starting with 150mg omalizumab 4 weekly, only 2/15 CSU and 7/17 CindU patients required updosing to achieve complete remission. In CSU, 57% of complete responses occurred within week one, all on the first day. Relapses were 2-8 weeks in all but six patients, where they were <4 months. Omalizumab was safe. Efficacy was not correlated to baseline IgE levels.

CONCLUSION: Clinical experience from more than 1250 injections in 51 patients over four years indicates that omalizumab is a rapidly acting, highly effective and safe drug in CSU and CindU patients. Our observations in a real life clinical setting support the recommendation of current EAACI/GA(2)LEN/EDF/WAO guideline for the management of urticaria to use omalizumab to treat urticaria patients.


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