Tags: hives | steroids | antihistamines | prednisone

Got Hives? Skip the Steroids

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By    |   Thursday, 04 May 2017 10:44 AM

Even though the steroid prednisone is commonly prescribed for patients with itching associated with hives, a French study found it provided no more relief than a placebo.

"Prednisone is a strong and great drug for certain problems, but it is no better than antihistamine treatment for patients who are itching with hives," said the study's lead author Caroline Barniol, MD, of the Centre Hospitalier Universitaire in Toulouse, France.

"The antihistamine levocetirizine alone achieved full itching relief within 2 days for 76 percent of patients. With the addition of prednisone, the relief scores were actually worse." Levocetirizine is a prescription drug related to Benadryl.

Two days after undergoing emergency treatment for hives, 62 percent of patients treated with levocetirizine and prednisone had an "itch score" of 0, while 76 percent of those in the placebo group (levocetirizine and placebo) had an itch score of 0. In addition, 30 percent of patients in the prednisone group and 24 percent in the placebo group reported relapses.

Acute urticaria, or hives, is a fairly common diagnosis in emergency departments. Hives are welts on the skin and can be triggered by foods, insect bites, infections, and medications such as aspirin. The associated itching can interfere with daily activities and sleep.

 International guidelines published in 2013 stated that a short course of oral corticosteroids may be helpful to reduce the duration for hives. Prednisone is commonly prescribed to treat them, along with antihistamines.

"Despite the evidence that second-generation H1-antihistamines treat acute urticaria without disturbing side effects, many physicians believe that corticosteroids are still the most effective treatment to obtain rapid symptom relief," said Barniol.

"Our results do not support the addition of corticosteroid to antihistamines as a first-line treatment of uncomplicated acute hives," she said. "Even if short-term treatment with corticosteroids does not cause clinically significant toxicity, recurrent or long-term treatment may have deleterious effects."

Prednisone is a prescription drug used to manage inflammatory diseases such as arthritis, asthma, ulcerative colitis, and Crohn's disease. Side effects can include weight gain, headache, muscle weakness, and high blood pressure.

According to the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, about 20 percent of people will have hives at some point during their lives.

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Even though the steroid prednisone is commonly prescribed for patients with itching associated with hives, a French study found it provided no more relief than a placebo."Prednisone is a strong and great drug for certain problems, but it is no better than antihistamine...
hives, steroids, antihistamines, prednisone
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2017-44-04
Thursday, 04 May 2017 10:44 AM
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