We investigated the suitability of cetirizine HCl (cetirizine) for the initial treatment of chronic urticaria. A secondary aim was to identify the optimal alternative treatments when switching from this drug to other drugs in patients who are dissatisfied with cetirizine. We started cetirizine at a once-daily dose of 10 mg for 2 weeks and then, depending on the course of symptoms in individual patients, it was either continued, titrated to a higher dose, or switched to other drugs (antihistamines including H2 blockers) for a further 2 weeks. Degrees of patient satisfaction and ratings by physicians were analyzed, as were adverse events. At 2 weeks after the start of treatment, among 74 patients included in the final evaluation 55 (74.3%) expressed satisfaction with cetirizine therapy. Those not satisfied included five (6.7%) who felt drowsy after taking the drug and 14 (18.9%) in whom the drug had not demonstrated adequate efficacy. After optimizing the treatment on a per-patient basis, including switching from cetirizine to other drugs, the percentage satisfied with treatment at 4 weeks was 83.7% (62/74). In the group of patients who were satisfied with the therapy at 2 weeks, attending physicians confirmed that wheals and scratches were significantly alleviated at 2 and 4 weeks, respectively. Adverse effects were mild and uncommon. Cetirizine as an initial treatment for chronic urticaria appears effective and safe. For patients in whom cetirizine fails to satisfactorily alleviate symptoms as well as those who complain of drowsiness, switching to other antihistamine drugs may be an effective strategy.
|Number of pages||10|
|Journal||Nagoya journal of medical science|
|Publication status||Published - 08-2008|
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