Gordon Sussman, MDemail address, Jacques Hébert, MD, Carly Barron, HBSc, Jia Bian, HBSc, Rose-Marie Caron-Guay, RN, Stéphanie Laflamme, RN, Simon Stern, HBSc
Received 12 September 2013; received in revised form 28 November 2013; accepted 3 December 2013. published online 30 December 2013.
Evidence has shown that omalizumab, a subcutaneous anti-IgE monoclonal antibody, is highly effective for the treatment of chronic urticaria.
To evaluate omalizumab 150 mg/month in severe, difficult-to-treat, chronic urticaria in a real-life setting.
This prospective open-label study evaluated of 150 mg of omalizumab in severe urticaria defined by a 7-day urticaria activity score (UAS-7) higher than 30, a history of oral glucocorticoid use, and by suboptimal response to previous treatments. Two subgroups of patients at different centers (Toronto and Quebec City, Canada) were included. The primary efficacy evaluation was a change in UAS-7 from baseline. A quantitative medication score assessed the use of other anti-urticarial medications.
Sixty-eight patients were included: 61 with chronic spontaneous urticaria, 6 with cold urticaria, and 1 with urticarial vasculitis. Patients were followed for up to 25 months. In Toronto, mean UAS-7 decreased from 32.2 at baseline to 5.7 after the last omalizumab treatment. Seventy-nine percent achieved complete remission during omalizumab therapy (UAS-7 0) and 6 (18%) showed improvement but never achieved complete remission. The most common maintenance dosing intervals were 1 to 3 months. In Quebec City, from baseline to 18 months, mean UAS-7 decreased from 24.4 to 2.2 and the quantitative medication score decreased from 13.3 to 3.0. All 6 patients with cold urticaria became symptom free, with a significant decrease of their cold stimulation tolerance test.
Omalizumab 150 mg was effective in difficult to treat patients with severe, chronic urticaria refractory to recommended treatments who usually required prednisone. Omalizumab induced a long-lasting positive response and was well tolerated without side effects.