The FDA has approved omalizumab (Xolair) for the treatment of chronic hives. This is the first medication with a specific indication for [glossary slug=’chronic-idiopathic-urticaria’ /] (CIU). There are many patients with CIU that remain symptomatic, covered in hives and itchy despite multiple medications. The addition of Xolair may help these patients get their symptoms under control.
– Current treatment options are limited and often ineffective.
– Convenience. Xolair is given as an injection on a monthly basis. Current medication regimens may include up to 20 pills per day.
– Xolair is expensive and will require pre-approval.
– Several clinical studies have demonstrated a high degree of safety. However, there are concerns that Xolair use may increase the risk of cardiac events and severe allergic reactions.
– Xolair, like other available medications, suppresses the hives but does not fix the underlying problem. Optimally, a cause can be identified and corrected or avoided.