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Hives and angioedema - urticaria
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Hives and angiedema - urticaria

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If your symptoms are mild, you may not need treatment. The standard treatment for hives and angiedema is antihistamines, which block the symptom-producing release of histamine. These include:

Nonprescription medications

  • Diphenhydramine (Benadryl, others)

  • Chlorpheniramine (Chlor-Trimeton, others)

  • Clemastine (Tavist, others)

  • Loratadine (Claritin, Alavert)

Antihistamines such as diphenhydramine, chlorpheniramine and clemastine may cause drowsiness. Loratadine usually doesn't cause drowsiness.

Prescription medications

  • Fexofenadine (Allegra)

  • Cetirizine (Zyrtec)

  • Hydroxyzine (Hyzine)

Occasionally, for severe hives or angiedema, physicians may prescribe an oral corticosteroid drug — such as oral prednisone — which can help lessen swelling, redness and itching.

Although useful in treating hives and angiedema, these medications are often ineffective in treating hereditary angiedema. Medications used specifically to treat HAE on a long-term basis include certain androgens, such as stanozolol (Winstrol) and danazol (Danocrine), which help regulate levels of blood proteins.

For a severe attack of hives or angiedema, you may need an emergency injection of adrenaline (epinephrine) and a trip to the emergency room. If you have repeated attacks, despite treatment, your doctor may prescribe — and instruct you how to use — adrenaline to carry with you for use in emergency situations.


To lower the likelihood of experiencing hives or angiedema, avoid substances, such as certain foods or medications, or situations, such as temperature extremes, that have triggered past allergic attacks. If you suspect foods of causing the problem, keep a food diary. Be aware that some foods may contain ingredients that are listed by less common names on the label.


If you're experiencing mild hives or angiedema, these tips may help relieve your symptoms:

  • Avoid irritating affected areas.

  • Take cool showers.

  • Apply cool compresses.

  • Wear loose, light clothing.

  • Minimize vigorous activity, which can release more irritants into the skin.

  •  Use OTC antihistamines to help relieve the itching.




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