The effectiveness of levocetirizine and desloratadine in up to four-times conventional doses in difficult-to-treat urticaria


Staevska, Maria, Popov, Todor A., Kralimarkova, Tanya, Lazarova, Cvetelina, Kraeva, Steliana, Popova, Dora, Church, Diana S., Dimitrov, Vasil and Church, Martin K. (2010) The effectiveness of levocetirizine and desloratadine in up to four-times conventional doses in difficult-to-treat urticaria. Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, 125, (3), 676-682. (doi:10.1016/j.jaci.2009.11.047).

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Description/Abstract

Background
H1-antihistamines are first line treatment of chronic urticaria, but many patients do not get satisfactory relief with recommended doses. European guidelines recommend increased antihistamine doses of up to 4-fold.

Objective
To provide supportive evidence for the European guidelines.

Methods
Eighty tertiary referral patients with chronic urticaria (age range, 19-67 years) were randomized for double-blind treatment with levocetirizine or desloratadine (40/40). Treatment started at the conventional daily dose of 5 mg and then increased weekly to 10 mg, 20 mg, or 20 mg of the opposite drug if relief of symptoms was incomplete. Wheal and pruritus scores, quality of life, patient discomfort, somnolence, and safety were assessed.

Results
Thirteen patients became symptom-free at 5 mg (9 levocetirizine vs 4 desloratadine), compared with 28 subjects on the higher doses of 10 mg (8/7) and 20 mg (5/1). Of the 28 patients nonresponsive to 20 mg desloratadine, 7 became symptom-free with 20 mg levocetirizine. None of the 18 levocetirizine nonresponders benefited with 20 mg desloratadine. Increasing antihistamine doses improved quality of life but did not increase somnolence. Analysis of the effect of treatment on discomfort caused by urticaria showed great individual heterogeneity of antihistamine responsiveness: 15% of patients were good responders, 10% were nonresponders, and 75% were responders to higher than conventional antihistamine doses. No serious or severe adverse effects warranting discontinuation of treatment occurred with either drug.

Conclusion
Increasing the dosage of levocetirizine and desloratadine up to 4-fold improves chronic urticaria symptoms without compromising safety in approximately three quarters of patients with difficult-to-treat chronic urticaria.

Item Type: Article
ISSNs: 0091-6749 (print)
Related URLs:
Keywords: urticaria, levocetirizine, antihistamines, desloratadine, somnolence, quality of life
Subjects: R Medicine > R Medicine (General)
R Medicine > RL Dermatology
Q Science > QR Microbiology > QR180 Immunology
Divisions: University Structure - Pre August 2011 > School of Medicine > Infection, Inflammation and Repair
ePrint ID: 79608
Date Deposited: 17 Mar 2010
Last Modified: 27 Mar 2014 19:01
Contact Email Address: da6@soton.ac.uk
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/79608

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