Treatment of urticarial vasculitis: A systematic review

J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2019 Feb;143(2):458-466. doi: 10.1016/j.jaci.2018.09.007. Epub 2018 Sep 27.


Urticarial vasculitis (UV) is a difficult-to-treat condition characterized by long-lasting urticarial rashes and histopathologic findings of leukocytoclastic vasculitis. Treatment is dictated by the severity of skin and systemic involvement and the underlying systemic disease. This is a comprehensive systematic review of the efficacy of current UV treatment options. We searched for relevant studies in 7 databases, including MEDLINE, Scopus, and Web of Science. In total, 261 eligible studies and 789 unique patients with UV were included in the systematic review. Most patients with UV are adult women with chronic (≥6 weeks) and systemic disease. UV is mostly idiopathic but can be associated with drugs, malignancy, autoimmunity, and infections. It usually resolves with their withdrawal or cure. Corticosteroids are effective for the treatment of skin symptoms in more than 80% of patients with UV. However, their long-term administration can lead to potentially serious adverse effects. The addition of immunomodulatory or immunosuppressive agents often allows corticosteroid tapering and improves the efficacy of therapy. Biologicals, including omalizumab, as well as corticosteroids, cyclophosphamide, dapsone, mycophenolate mofetil, plasmapheresis, colchicine, hydroxychloroquine, intravenous immunoglobulin, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, and cyclosporine, can be effective for both skin and systemic symptoms in patients with UV. H1-antihistamines, montelukast, danazol, H2-antihistamines, pentoxifylline, doxepin, and tranexamic acid are not effective in most patients with UV. As of yet, no drugs have been approved for UV, and management recommendations are based mostly on case reports and retrospective studies. Prospective studies investigating the effects of treatment on the signs and symptoms of UV are needed.

Keywords: Urticarial vasculitis; review; treatment.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Adrenal Cortex Hormones / therapeutic use*
  • Adult
  • Animals
  • Biological Therapy
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunosuppressive Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Male
  • Omalizumab / therapeutic use
  • Skin / pathology*
  • Urticaria / drug therapy*
  • Vasculitis / drug therapy*


  • Adrenal Cortex Hormones
  • Immunosuppressive Agents
  • Omalizumab