An Observational Study of the Diagnosis and Management of Chronic Urticaria in the UK

Cheng-Han Wu, Michael Roger Ardern-Jones, Efrem Eren, Carina Venter
International Archives of Allergy and Immunology 2015, 167 (1): 1-8

BACKGROUND: Patients with chronic urticaria (CU) in the UK could be referred to health care professionals (HCPs) with diverse specialties using different guidelines. The aims of the present study were to determine which CU guidelines HCPs in the UK use, which tests they use for the diagnosis of CU, and how they manage CU.

METHODS: In this UK-wide survey, we designed a questionnaire covering the diagnosis and management of CU based on current guidelines. The link to the questionnaire was sent to the British Society for Allergy and Clinical Immunology (BSACI), the British Association of Dermatologists (BAD), the British Society of Immunology (BSI), and the Food Allergy and Intolerance Specialist Group (FAISG) of the British Dietetic Association (BDA), who distributed the link to their members.

RESULTS: The questionnaire was completed by 55 allergists/immunologists, 64 dermatologists, and 43 dietitians. More dermatologists used the BAD guidelines in comparison with allergists and immunologists (93.6 vs. 12.5%; p < 0.001). On the other hand, the BSACI guidelines (83.3 vs. 14.9%; p < 0.001) and the European Academy of Allergy and Clinical Immunology (EAACI)/Global Allergy and Asthma European Network (GA(2)LEN)/European Dermatology Forum (EDF)/World Allergy Organization (WAO) guidelines (2013) (52.1 vs. 10.6%; p < 0.001) were used by more allergists and immunologists compared to dermatologists. Differences were found between allergists/immunologists and dermatologists with regard to guidelines used, investigations performed, preference of first-line antihistamine, and prescription of alternative treatment methods.

CONCLUSION: In conclusion, differences in the diagnosis and management of CU between HCPs of diverse specialties were identified, which reflected differences among the guidelines used.

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