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Health & Medicine Asthma Drug Xolair could help Chronic Hive Sufferers with FDA's Approval

Asthma Drug Xolair could help Chronic Hive Sufferers with FDA's Approval

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First Posted: Feb 25, 2013 10:15 AM EST
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Xolair, or omalizumab, a drug commonly used to treat allergic asthma, will be used in a phase III trial this month to help prove that monthly injects of the medicine can reduce hives and relieve itchiness, according to the New England Journal of Medicine. (Photo : Flickr)

For those that suffer from chronic hives, finidng little relief in the traditional antihistimines, an asthma drug may provide some much-needed help.

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Xolair, or omalizumab, a drug commonly used to treat allergic asthma, will be used in a phase III trial this month to help prove that monthly injects of the medicine can reduce hives and relieve itchiness for some patients, according to the New England Journal of Medicine.

As doctors will often use oral antihistimines, including drugs such as Loratadine (Claritin, Alavert), Fexofenadine (Allegra), Cetirizine (Zyrtec), Levocetirizine (Xyzal) and Desloratadine (Clarinex), this product will reach out to those suffering from harsher symptoms.

"This is the magic bullet that patients have been waiting for the last 40 years," said Dr. Marcus Maurer, the lead author of the study and a professor of dermatology and allergy at Charité-Universitätsmedizin in Berlin, according to the New York Times.

Maurer received consulting fees from many pharmaceutical companies, including two that paid for the study--Genetech and Novartis. The companies are also helping to develop the drug.

With the Food and Drug Administration's approval of the drug, this could mean some new and easy options for chronic hive sufferers, including those who have idiopathic utricaria, a term used by the dermatologists and physicians for the common skin condition, hives. These patients get hives for often unknown reasons and symptoms may last anywhere from months to years.

Currently, sufferers of harsh health problems stemming from the condition often have to take steroids or immunosuppressant drugs - and even some people do not respond to those medications.

Want to learn more about the condition? Check out this video, courtesy of YouTube.

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