Background: Despite the disabling nature of chronic urticaria (CU), little is known about the disease's duration or the efficacy of adopting aggressive therapeutic regimens such as cyclosporine A.
Objectives: The aim of this study was to evaluate whether parameters such as angioedema, autologous serum test, anti-thyroid antibodies, and total IgE could predict both CU duration and severity.
Patients and methods: One hundred and thirty-nine patients suffering from CU were prospectively followed over a 5-year period for disease duration, severity and the presence of angioedema. Also investigated was the association between these clinical parameters and the subsequent detection of autologous serum test, anti-thyroid antibodies, and total IgE.
Results: CU lasted over 1 year in more than 70% of cases and in 14% it still existed after 5 years. Angioedema co-existed or appeared during the course of CU in 40% of patients and was associated with disease duration. Autologous serum test and anti-thyroid antibodies were found positive in 28 and 12% of patients, respectively, compared to none of normal individuals, P = 0.001. CU duration was associated with the presence of both autologous serum test and anti-thyroid antibodies; however, autologous serum test and not anti-thyroid antibodies was found in association with CU severity.
Conclusion: We demonstrate for the first time that CU duration is associated with clinical parameters such as severity and angioedema, and with laboratory parameters such as autologous serum test and anti-thyroid antibodies. The ability to predict CU duration may facilitate decisions regarding the possible early initiation of cyclosporine A as a means by which to reduce disease severity and duration.