UBC Faculty Research and Publications

Natural history, prognostic factors and patient perceived response to treatment in chronic spontaneous urticaria Stepaniuk, Peter; Kan, Manstein; Kanani, Amin


Background: Although the diagnosis and management of chronic spontaneous urticaria (CSU) is well documented in the literature, some aspects of the disease remain unclear. We aimed to further describe the natural history, prognostic factors, humanistic burden and uptake of traditional and alternative therapies in patients with CSU. Methods: This was a prospective, cross-sectional analysis at a single centre. We reviewed patient medical records and conducted a survey in patients with CSU. Results: 72 patients participated in the study with a median duration of CSU of 48 months. 30% of patients had symptoms that resolved in under 2 years with these patients trending towards an older age of onset of CSU (48 ± 17 years). 16% of patients had symptoms lasting 10 years or longer with these patients trending towards a younger age of onset (22 ± 16 years). Patients with a relapsing/remitting disease course (31%) and those with co-existing angioedema (57%) trended towards a longer median duration of CSU (96 and 50 months respectively) and were observed to have a higher proportion of patients reporting CSU duration of 10 years or longer (33% and 25%, p = 0.033 and p = 0.036 respectively). Patients with co-existing autoimmune/thyroid disease (19%) trended towards a shorter median duration of CSU (37 months). 54 patients (75%) reported sleep disturbance and 29 patients (43%) required emergency room visit(s) for symptomatic control. 84% of patients who trialed second generation antihistamines reported a response to treatment, while 73% of patients who trialed omalizumab reported a response to treatment. Patients using alternative medicine such as acupuncture, traditional Chinese medicine and naturopathic medicine had lower reported response rates (20–29%) to treatment. Conclusions: The natural history of CSU may be longer than previously reported with our study finding a median duration of symptoms of nearly 4 years with one-third of patients reporting a relapsing/remitting disease course. Younger age of onset, a relapsing/remitting disease course and angioedema may predict a longer duration of CSU, whereas older age of onset and co-existing autoimmune/thyroid disease may predict a shorter duration of CSU. Reported symptomatic benefit was higher from guidelines based pharmacologic therapy versus various alternative medicines.

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