Doxepin in difficult-to-treat chronic urticaria: A retrospective, cross-sectional study from Turkey

Dermatol Ther. 2019 Jul;32(4):e12993. doi: 10.1111/dth.12993. Epub 2019 Jul 14.


Doxepin is an old tricyclic antidepressant, whose efficacy in chronic urticaria had been well documented until 1990. However, over the past three decades, there has been limited data on its use. We aimed to assess the efficacy and safety of doxepin in the treatment of patients with chronic urticaria who were poorly responsive to antihistamines. In this retrospective, cross-sectional, single-center study from Turkey, data were examined from patients with chronic urticaria who had poor antihistamine responses and received doxepin therapy from 1998 to 2017. Patient data were analyzed with regard to the duration of the disease, age, sex, treatment outcomes using a weekly urticaria activity score (UAS7), and adverse effects of doxepin therapy. A reduction of ≥90% in UAS7 was defined as "complete response," 30-89% as "partial response" and <30% as "no significant response." Thirty-six patients were included in this study. Doxepin was effective in a majority (n = 27, 75%) of the patients with a short onset time. Sixteen patients (44.4%) showed a complete response. Mild sedative and anticholinergic side effects were well tolerated. Doxepin seems to be a reasonable, efficient, and affordable alternative for the treatment of chronic urticaria in patients who respond poorly to antihistamine therapy.

Keywords: antihistamine; chronic urticaria; difficult-to-treat; doxepin; poor response; therapy.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Chronic Urticaria / drug therapy*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Doxepin / adverse effects
  • Doxepin / therapeutic use*
  • Female
  • Histamine Antagonists / adverse effects
  • Histamine Antagonists / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Turkey
  • Young Adult


  • Histamine Antagonists
  • Doxepin