Background: About 30% of patients with chronic urticaria experience flares of hives and/or angioedema after ingesting either aspirin or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. In such patients, cross-reactivity to all NSAIDs seems to occur suggesting a mechanism dependent on cyclooxygenase inhibition.
Objective: To evaluate the preventive effect of leukotriene receptor antagonists on urticaria exacerbations induced by NSAIDs in a patient with chronic urticaria.
Methods: A 59-year-old woman with a 2-year history of recurrent urticaria exacerbated by different NSAIDs including aspirin 500 mg (2 episodes), piroxicam 20 mg, and nimesulide 100 mg (1 episode each) was studied. Acetaminophen 375 mg and floctafenine 50 mg induced a marked flare of urticaria/angioedema in a single-blind, placebo-controlled challenge.
Results: The patient was totally urticaria free during a 3-week course of montelukast 10 mg once a day. After montelukast withdrawal, a gradual relapse of urticaria/angioedema occurred along with a further acute urticaria/angioedema episode after a single piroxicam, 20-mg tablet. Zafirlukast 20 mg twice daily was started. After some days the patient was urticaria-free again, and after 3 weeks she tolerated a 6-day course of injective piroxicam (20 mg once a day) without any problem. To date the patient is still urticaria-free.
Conclusion: Leukotriene receptor antagonists may prevent the severe urticaria/angioedema exacerbations which follow the use of NSAIDs in some patients with chronic urticaria.