Chronic urticaria in the real-life clinical practice setting in Sweden, Norway and Denmark: baseline results from the non-interventional multicentre AWARE study

J Eur Acad Dermatol Venereol. 2017 Jun;31(6):1048-1055. doi: 10.1111/jdv.14210. Epub 2017 Apr 3.


Background: Chronic urticaria (CU) is characterized by the recurrence of itchy hives and/or angioedema for more than 6 weeks. AWARE (A World-wide Antihistamine-Refractory Chronic Urticaria Patient Evaluation) is a multinational study designed to document the real-life treatment situation, burden of disease and clinical resource usage of H1-antihistamine-refractory CU patients.

Objective: To examine baseline data from Scandinavian AWARE patients.

Methods: AWARE is a prospective, non-interventional, multinational, umbrella design study, which includes adults (≥18 years) with a confirmed CU diagnosis (>2 months) that is refractory to H1-antihistamines. Baseline patient characteristics, disease activity (urticaria control test [UCT]), pharmacological treatment, comorbidities and healthcare usage were documented by the treating physician. Quality of life (QoL; dermatology life quality index [DLQI]; chronic urticaria quality of life questionnaire [CU-Q2 oL; Danish patients only]) and work productivity and activity impairment (WPAI) scores were also assessed.

Results: Overall, 158 CU patients from seven centres in Denmark (n = 80), Norway (n = 50) and Sweden (n = 28) were included in this baseline analysis. Mean age and BMI were 40.3 years and 26.5 kg/m2 , respectively. The majority of patients were female (69.6%), had uncontrolled CU (75.6%; UCT score <12) and had a 'spontaneous' component to their CU (61.4% CSU; 20.3% both CSU and chronic inducible urticaria). Common comorbidities included asthma (19.6%), allergic rhinitis (16.5%) and food allergies (8.2%). Overall, 60.1% of patients reported using treatments for CU including non-sedative H1-antihistamines (40.5%), corticosteroids (19%), montelukast (14.6%) and omalizumab (8.2%). Pharmacological treatment rates increased to 96.2% during the baseline visit. On average, patient QoL was moderately affected (mean DLQI score 7.7) and healthcare resource usage was high.

Conclusion: Adult Scandinavian H1-antihistamine-refractory CU patients reported high rates of healthcare usage and QoL impairment. Rates of pharmacological treatment use were low before study enrolment but increased to almost 100% during the baseline visit.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Chronic Disease
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies
  • Scandinavian and Nordic Countries / epidemiology
  • Urticaria / epidemiology
  • Urticaria / physiopathology*