Treatment of chronic urticaria presents a challenge to both practitioner and patient. Traditional H1 antagonists with good efficacy but substantial side effects are being supplanted in many cases by nonsedating H1 antagonists such as terfenadine and astemizole. Antidepressant medications and combinations of H1 and H2 antagonists offer improved results for selected patients. Further development and investigation of mast cell stabilizers and inhibitors of urticaria mediators other than histamine hold promise. A better understanding of the underlying pathogenesis remains the greatest hope of formulating rational and effective therapy.
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