Feature Article

Chronic idiopathic urticaria: keys to improving quality of life

Babu Philip, Constance H Katelaris



The intense pruritus and evanescent skin lesions of urticaria are poorly tolerated by patients, and long-term disease can lead to sleep disturbances, anxiety and reduced quality of life. Nonsedating antihistamines, patient education and psychological support form the basis of management.

Key Points

  • Urticaria is a relatively common condition, affecting a quarter of the population at some time.
  • Although chronic idiopathic urticaria is a nonlife-threatening condition, it can be associated with significant emotional distress and reduction in quality of life.
  • Oral second generation (nonsedating) antihistamines are the mainstay of treatment and compliance is a key factor in the management of this condition.
  • Patients require education regarding the nature of urticaria and psychological support for the associated emotional distress.