Background Because omalizumab was only recently approved for refractory chronic urticaria (CU), there are few studies that have evaluated patients using omalizumab for longer than 1 year. Objective To evaluate omalizumab's effectiveness, its feasibility in weaning, and its safety profile in patients with refractory CU who were on omalizumab for longer than 1 year. Methods A retrospective chart review was conducted of adults with well-defined refractory CU in the authors' clinic from October 2005 to January 2015 who responded to omalizumab and who had taken it for longer than 1 year. In addition to baseline characteristics, the duration, course, and adverse effects of omalizumab therapy were analyzed. Results Eight of 10 patients had complete resolution of symptoms after reaching their optimal regimen and had taken omalizumab for a median duration of 37 months (17-112 months). None of them required uptitration of dosage, an increase in frequency of dosage, or add-on therapy. Five of 8 patients, while being tapered, had recurrence of symptoms requiring the reuse of omalizumab. One successfully discontinued omalizumab, 1 was in the process of being weaned but did not experience a flare, and 1 had not attempted weaning. Conclusion This study from the United States suggests that omalizumab is effective and safe in patients with refractory CU who use omalizumab for longer than 1 year. Periodic attempts at weaning patients with CU from omalizumab should be attempted because there could be a chance of spontaneous remission. This might be difficult because symptoms are likely to recur, but restarting omalizumab in these patients seems effective and safe.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Allergy
- Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine