Awareness of chronic spontaneous urticaria

A report by Allergy UK has described a number of challenges faced by patients living with chronic spontaneous urticaria (CSU), as well as by the healthcare professionals responsible for their diagnosis and management

Chronic urticaria can have a significant impact on quality of life (Photograph: Science Photo Library)
Chronic urticaria can have a significant impact on quality of life (Photograph: Science Photo Library)

Allergy UK undertook an audit of 103 people diagnosed with CSU. The resulting report aims to raise awareness of the condition and its impact on quality of life, as well as to improve access to treatment.

Nearly a quarter of those surveyed miss work at least once a month due to their symptoms, half do not feel they have control over their symptoms, nine out of 10 say their sleep is affected by CSU, nearly half feel like crying at least once a week because of their symptoms, nearly half are unable to take part in usual social activities, with 37% reporting their sex life is restricted, and nearly all (90%) say their symptoms place limitations on normal activities.

As well as these debilitating effects on quality of life, more than half of the people surveyed had to wait more than a year for a referral to a specialist, and state that their current treatment was not sufficient to manage their symptoms. The report summarised the main challenges associated with CSU as:

  • Lack of national guidance or prioritisation
  • Lack of specialist knowledge of the condition in primary care
  • Delay in referral and correct diagnosis
  • Confusion between CSU and allergy
  • Lack of psychological support for people with the condition
  • Lack of access to the best treatments and confusion over treatment options

The report concludes that healthcare professionals should explore new treatment options available to treat people who do not respond to antihistamines and that psychological support may be beneficial. Allergy UK.

Wheals of despair. Chronic spontaneous urticaria: breaking free from the cycle of despair June 2014

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