Two separate clinical studies published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology have shown omalizumab to be highly effective against different types of urticaria.
People with cold urticaria and symptomatic dermographism often experience a reduced quality of life and are forced to make adjustments to both their social and working lives.
As part of 2 investigator-initiated, multicentre, randomised, placebo-controlled trials, researchers from the Department of Dermatology, Venereology and Allergology, Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Berlin, Germany, used the monoclonal antibody to treat 61 patients with symptomatic dermographism and 31 patients with cold urticarial for a period of 3 months.
In order to test the efficacy of treatment, the researchers used objective measurement techniques to determine provocation threshold values for all study participants. Initial measurements were carried out prior to the first administration of the drug. Once the second dose had been administered, measurements were repeated at 4 weekly intervals, followed by a final measurement 2 weeks after the final dose.
Results showed that treatment with omalizumab led to significant improvements in symptoms in both groups of patients, and prevented symptoms in nearly half of all patients with cold urticaria and symptomatic dermographism, even after exposure to the relevant stimuli.
"Our results show that patients with severe forms of physical urticaria can benefit from treatment with omalizumab," said Martin Metz, MD, Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin.
The drug is currently only licensed for use in patients with chronic spontaneous urticarial; however, "given our data on the drug's effectiveness in patients with cold urticaria and symptomatic dermographism, we are hopeful that the drug will be made available to both of these patient groups," said Dr. Metz.
SOURCE: Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin