Medication patterns in chronic spontaneous urticaria: results from a nationwide investigation in the primary care setting in Italy

G Ital Dermatol Venereol. 2018 Feb;153(1):39-42. doi: 10.23736/S0392-0488.16.05387-6. Epub 2016 Jun 1.


Background: Only a few studies have assessed treatment usage in clinical practice among patients with chronic spontaneous urticaria (CSU).

Methods: The aim of this study was to evaluate patterns of medications used for CSU, analyzing the electronic patient records contained in the Italian general practice Health Search IMS Health Longitudinal Patient Database (HSD). The study period was from January 2002 to December 2013.

Results: The most frequent prescriptions during the year following CSU diagnosis were H1-antihistamines (78.47%) and corticosteroids (49.20%). Different medications were given to a limited number of CSU patients.

Conclusions: The results of our study have shown that H1-antihistamines were the most prescribed drugs to treat CSU, reflecting their role as the mainstay of CSU treatment. Systemic corticosteroids continue to be frequently prescribed for CSU in clinical practice. Alternative drugs were used only in very few patients, suggesting the possibility that severe refractory cases of CSU are undertreated in clinical practice.

MeSH terms

  • Adrenal Cortex Hormones / therapeutic use*
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Chronic Disease
  • Databases, Factual
  • Electronic Health Records
  • Female
  • Histamine H1 Antagonists / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Italy
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Practice Patterns, Physicians' / statistics & numerical data*
  • Primary Health Care
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Urticaria / drug therapy*
  • Urticaria / pathology


  • Adrenal Cortex Hormones
  • Histamine H1 Antagonists