What are the complications of chronic urticaria?

Updated: Jul 31, 2018
  • Author: Marla N Diakow, MD; Chief Editor: William D James, MD  more...
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Answer

Unlike angioedema, which may affect the airway, urticaria is not a life-threatening disease. As a rule, lesions of urticaria should resolve without complications; however, patients with severe pruritus may develop scratch purpura and excoriations that may become secondarily infected. Additionally, antihistamine use may cause somnolence and dry mouth. Finally, severe chronic urticaria has been shown to have a negative impact on the quality of life of affected patients. [27]

In a study by O’Donnell et al, the effects of chronic urticaria on the activities of daily living, social interactions, rest, and work were found to be similar to those experienced by patients with heart disease. [28] These findings were confirmed by a subsequent French-German study, which suggested that physicians should discuss the emotional aspect of chronic urticaria with patients if time allows. [29]


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