Patients with Chronic Urticaria Not Receiving Treatment

More than 80% of patients with chronic urticaria report quality of life issues.

A new real-world study conducted by Novartis revealed that nearly half of patients with chronic urticaria (CU) are not receiving proper treatment, despite the prevalence of approved drugs.

The authors found that 42% of patients are not receiving treatment, while 83% indicated the condition has had a negative impact on their quality of life, according to a press release.

Patients with CU experience persistent hives and swelling for at least 6 weeks and can last for years or decades in some cases. The hives typically occur in sensitive areas, such as around the eyes, lips, and mouth. Novartis reports that the psychological and social impact of CU is significant.

These new findings are consistent with prior research that found patients with chronic spontaneous urticaria are not being treated with omalizumab (Xolair), which is the only approved treatment for the condition, according to the release.

The results are part of the AWARE study, which revealed the impact of CU in a real-world setting. Included in the study were more than 3700 patients with CU who were at least 18-years-old and refractory to 1 or more H1 antihistamines.

In the study, the investigators found that nearly half of patients with CU had a moderate, very large, or extremely large impact on their quality of life. These findings were found in 51% of Southern European patients, 54% Nordic patients, 56% of German patients, 61% of UK patients, and 85% of Russian patients, according to the study.

Even patients who were receiving treatment reported issues with quality of life, which suggests that current treatments may not adequately control symptoms.

The investigators discovered that 74% of Nordic patients, 61% of German patients, 58% of Southern European patients, and 52% of UK patients were the most likely to receive treatment, while only 39% of Russian patients received drug therapy, according to the study.

While CU can have a significant impact on quality of life for patients, Novartis said that many physicians view the condition as trivial. This may have an impact on prescribing habits and could explain why the treatment rate is low.

"Chronic urticaria is a serious disease that greatly impacts the quality of life, yet seems to be severely undertreated," said Vas Narasimhan, global head, Drug Development and Chief Medical Officer, Novartis. "These findings reinforce the urgent need to improve the management of chronic urticaria in line with treatment guidelines, calling for a treatment goal of a 'symptom free patient'."