New drug option for chronic urticaria

A RELATIVELY new treatment option for patients with chronic urticaria is a real game changer, a leading dermatology researcher says.

Omalizumab (Xolair, Novar­tis) is safe and effective at eliminating symptoms for 90% of the patients who do not respond to antihistamines, says Professor Marcus Maurer, one of the clinicians involved in the drug’s development who recently visited Australia.

About half of all patients with chronic urticaria don’t respond to standard therapy, says Professor Maurer, a professor of dermatology and allergy at Charité University Hospital, Berlin.