Asthma drug removes the itch from chronic hives!

The FDA (Food and Drug Administration) just approved Xolair (Omalizumab) for the treatment of chronic hives. Xolair is a product of Novartis and Genentech that “binds up and removes” the allergic antibody IgE from the system. This is the FIRST approved treatment for hives since antihistamines (Claritin, Allegra, Zyrtec, etc.).

Chronic hives can be a frustrating disorder and many current treatments are just not effective for many patients. Chronic idiopathic urticaria is hives lasting longer than 6 weeks without a known trigger. (Idiopathic=we don’t know). Some patients have hives for years.

Here is the details for Xolair for chronic hives.

  • Age: 12 years old and older

  • Indication: hives occurring for longer than 6 weeks not controlled with antihistamines.

  • Administered: 150 mg or 300 mg by subucutaneous Injection (like insulin or an allergy shot) every 4 weeks.

Does it work? In the clinical trials, over half of patients are completely free of hives/itching after 3 months. This compares to 10% who improved with placebo.

Xolair has been available for the treatment of allergic asthma since 2003. Allergists are familiar with administering this medication in their office. Just as Xolair has a warning for causing anaphylaxis when used for treating asthma, the warning is also for treating hives. This is a very uncommon side effect. Most people tolerate this medication well.

At Family Allergy Asthma & Sinus Care, we stay on the cutting edge of treatment for asthma, allergies, sinus problems and yes, hives too. Now Xolair can benefit patients with hives!