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Free Content A case of severe refractory chronic urticaria: A novel method for evaluation and treatment

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With cholinergic urticaria (ChU), the ultimate diagnosis often depends on the demonstration of characteristic urticaria by appropriate provocation. Several treatment options may be helpful but traditional options (antihistamines, leukotriene inhibitors, and immunosuppressives) may be exhausted by the refractory ChU patient. Here, we describe such a case. Demonstration of immediate hypersensitivity to autologous sweat skin testing (ASwST) may provide a rationale for use of omalizumab (Xolair, Genentech Novartis, South San Francisco, CA). Patients with severe ChU may have difficulty producing sufficient quantities of sweat for ASwST given that the very effort that produces the sample exacerbates ChU. Generation of sweat by iontophoresis with pilocarpine nitrate can be performed at many large medical centers. The procedure is simple, safe, and produces varying amounts of sweat depending on the individual. This sweat can then be used for ASwST. Our patient had a positive ASwST with appropriate positive and negative controls. Our testing methods were validated by negative ASwST, saline control, and positive histamine control in a nonatopic, nonurticarial control patient. By the patient's second injection of omalizumab, her quality of life score was significantly improved, as were her daily medication scores and exercise tolerance. We describe the first case of a patient with severe refractory ChU who had a positive ASwST by a novel collection method who has been successfully treated with omalizumab. We present a novel tool for the evaluation and demonstration of sweat-specific IgE in ChU patients who are unable to provide sweat by more traditional means.
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Keywords: Autologous sweat skin test; Xolair; cholinergic urticaria; omalizumab; pilocarpine iontophoresis; sweat collection; urticaria

Document Type: Case Report

Affiliations: Department of Allergy and Immunology, Wilford Hall Medical Center, Lackland Air Force Base, San Antonio, Texas, USA. [email protected]

Publication date: 01 May 2009

More about this publication?
  • Allergy and Asthma Proceedings is a peer reviewed publication dedicated to distributing timely scientific research regarding advancements in the knowledge and practice of allergy, asthma and immunology. Its primary readership consists of allergists and pulmonologists.

    The goal of the Proceedings is to publish articles with a predominantly clinical focus which directly impact quality of care for patients with allergic disease and asthma.

    Featured topics include asthma, rhinitis, sinusitis, food allergies, allergic skin diseases, diagnostic techniques, allergens, and treatment modalities. Published material includes peer-reviewed original research, clinical trials and review articles.

    Articles marked "F" offer free full text for personal noncommercial use only.

    The journal is indexed in Thomson Reuters Web of Science and Science Citation Index Expanded, plus the National Library of Medicine's PubMed service.
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