Hives - When our skin suddenly develops itchy wheals

Hives - When our skin suddenly develops itchy wheals

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What to do with hives? New drugs offer hope

Hives (also nettle fever or urticaria) can often be observed in the course of allergic reactions. However, it can also occur in a chronic form, in which the skin suddenly forms wheals repeatedly in different places - without any recognizable concrete trigger. This is often very stressful for those affected, but they can certainly be helped in special centers of excellence. New drugs that are intended to enable further improvements in treatment are also already being tested.

In so-called chronic spontaneous urticaria, the skin irritations are repeated and can be found in various parts of the body without a recognizable cause. “Suddenly, itchy wheals form on the forearm. They are gone after an hour or two, but appear again elsewhere some time later, ”said Leipzig University Hospital in a recent press release. A study is currently being prepared at the university hospital's skin clinic to test new drugs for the treatment of hives. Participants with chronic spontaneous urticaria are still being sought.

Chronic hives are very stressful for those affected

With hives, an itchy rash with visible blisters and wheals suddenly forms on the skin. For example, this is a common symptom in allergic reactions, but also in chronic spontaneous urticaria. The latter "puts a lot of strain on the sick," says Professor Dr. Regina Treudler, senior consultant at the clinic and polyclinic for dermatology, venereology and allergology at the University Hospital Leipzig. This affects not only the skin irritation, but sleep and concentration disorders are also often found, which significantly affects the quality of life.

Causes are often difficult to determine

In addition, identifying the causes of this disease is often difficult, continues Prof. Treudler. "Especially in the case of chronic spontaneous urticaria, which arises out of the blue, there is no concrete cause," emphasizes the expert. Because in the vast majority of cases, chronic spontaneous urticaria is not an allergy, but an autoimmune disease in which the immune system attacks the body's own cells. This also complicates the healing process, but treatment in a certified center of excellence can usually provide significant symptom relief.

New drugs in sight?

The University Dermatology Clinic is one such center of excellence for the treatment of hives. Here, for example, those affected can be helped with medication "that prevents the misguided release of histamine", explains Prof. Treudler. The expert hopes for further improvements in treatment from newly developed drugs. "Such a promising drug will soon be the focus of a new study at our clinic," said Teudler. Sufferers with chronic spontaneous urticaria "can gladly participate in the study and are therefore among the first to benefit from this new drug," emphasizes the senior senior physician. (fp)

Author and source information

This text corresponds to the specifications of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.

Dipl. Geogr. Fabian Peters


  • University Hospital Leipzig: Frustrating hives - new drug study at the University Dermatological Clinic (published September 25, 2019),

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