A stepwise approach in the management of chronic spontaneous urticaria in children

Asia Pac Allergy. 2016 Jan;6(1):16-28. doi: 10.5415/apallergy.2016.6.1.16. Epub 2016 Jan 27.


Background: There is limited literature in the management of chronic urticaria in children. Treatment algorithms are generally extrapolated from adult studies.

Objective: Utility of a weight and age-based algorithm for antihistamines in management of chronic spontaneous urticaria (CSU) in childhood. To document associated factors that predict for step of control of CSU and time taken to attain control of symptoms in children.

Methods: A workgroup comprising of allergists, nurses, and pharmacists convened to develop a stepwise treatment algorithm in management of children with CSU. Sequential patients presenting to the paediatric allergy service with CSU were included in this observational, prospective study.

Results: Ninety-eight patients were recruited from September 2012 to September 2013. Majority were male, Chinese with median age 4 years 7 months. A third of patients with CSU had a family history of acute urticaria. Ten point two percent had previously resolved CSU, 25.5% had associated angioedema, and 53.1% had a history of atopy. A total of 96.9% of patients achieved control of symptoms, of which 91.8% achieved control with cetirizine. Fifty percent of all the patients were controlled on step 2 or higher. Forty-seven point eight percent of those on step 2 or higher were between 2 to 6 years of age compared to 32.6% and 19.6% who were 6 years and older and lesser than 2 years of age respectively. Eighty percent of those with previously resolved CSU required an increase to step 2 and above to achieve chronic urticaria control.

Conclusion: We propose a weight- and age-based titration algorithm for different antihistamines for CSU in children using a stepwise approach to achieve control. This algorithm may improve the management and safety profile for paediatric CSU patients and allow for review in a more systematic manner for physicians dealing with CSU in children.

Keywords: Algorithms; Child; Chronic Urticaria; Histamine Antagonists.