Allergy testing a waste of time in hives (urticaria)
10 May 2016
Many patients with chronic urticaria spend years in misery trying to find the cause of their hives, but the long-term approach should be for alleviation of their symptoms, according to a leading dermatologist.
University of Melbourne dermatologist Professor Rod Sinclair, says people with chronic urticaria may be put through unnecessary and expensive allergy testing or spend a long time trying to track down dietary or environmental triggers but they are often “clutching at straws”.
Speaking at the Australian Doctor Dermatology Academy in Sydney on Saturday, Professor Sinclair said there were a few proven triggers for urticaria worth exploring, such as aspirin, codeine, exercise and heat, but for 90% of patients the condition persisted without a specific trigger being identified.
Allergy testing was usually a waste of time, he said, and it was more about “managing a patient’s anxiety” than finding a cause of the hives.
In the absence of a recognised trigger, the best approach is to focus on optimising treatment for hives, Professor Sinclair told the conference.