Urticaria and Angioedema (Hives and Swelling): Treatment
- When an identifiable cause for urticaria and angioedema is involved, avoidance should be the first step in treatment. This is especially true of triggers that can result in significant reactions, such as to medications and foods.
- Aside from avoidance, the treatment for urticaria and angioedema consists primarily of antihistamines, whether an identifiable cause is found or not. Often patients will require doses of antihistamines that are greater than what is generally prescribed for other problems such as nasal allergies.
- It is also common to have patients with chronic urticaria or angioedema take a regimen of antihistamines for a period of time even after the problem appears to be cleared, in order to be sure that the immune system response to the trigger is decreased.
- For patients with urticaria and angioedema that do not respond to higher doses of oral medications, injectable forms of treatment, such as Xolair, may be an appropriate option.
Urticaria and angioedema, especially when occurring over a long period of time, will often cause significant distress and anxiety. This is an important aspect for both patients and providers to consider when evaluating and treating these conditions.