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Allergy, Asthma and Immunology Meeting

Highlights from the annual meeting of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, San Antonio, February 22-26, 2013

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5:03pm, February 26, 2013

Promising treatment for years-long hives
People with hives that recur for years and even decades might get relief from an allergy drug. Called omalizumab and marketed as Xolair, the drug inhibits the rogue antibody immunoglobulin E, which brings on persistent, intense itching and body-covering hives in some people. Scientists randomly assigned 323 patients with chronic hives, also called urticaria, to get three shots of the medicine spaced four weeks apart. One-quarter of them got a placebo while the others received one of three doses of the drug. Patients getting the two highest doses experienced substantial declines in itching that lasted until four weeks after the last shot, and 40 percent of the highest-dose group saw their hives disappear completely during treatment, said study coauthor Thomas Casale, an allergist at Creighton University in Omaha, Neb. Twelve weeks after the last shot, symptoms had started to return in most patients. Even so, said allerg

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