I've been reading this forum to see if anyone had an alternative solution to chronic idiopathic urticaria. However, it seems that there is no one solution to this life altering condition. I first broke out in hives in Dec. of last year after taking Bactrum (sulfur-based antibiotic). All my extremities were swollen and yes, even my breathing affected. Needless to say, that trip to the ER was no joke. I received an epi-pen, but fortunately, have not had to use it since. What I thought would be a one-time reaction reoccurred 2 months later accompanied with scarlet hives and unbearable itching, but the worst is the swelling of my face (can't erase this mutated image from my mind). Well, finally, I saw an allergist who administered the allergy test and found out that I was not allergic to any of the items on that test. Bad news was that I was allergic to everything or a combination of things. I was disturbed to find out that this was an autoimmune problem and that it wouldn't disappear anytime soon. I was treated with prednisone (3 tab/2x a day for 3, 2 tab/2x a day for 2, then 1tab/2x a day). This was the miracle cure for me because I got immediate relief. However, my allergist and dermatologis informed me that prednisone is not a good recommendation for CU, because once you stop, the CU returns worse than before. I also did not want to take the liver-damaging shots. So, I opted for the least consequential route. The following cocktail was prescribed and below I list my response to all:
Doxepin - 5 tab(4x a day) - Pros: Known for its anti-itching attributes. Cons: This is an anti-depressant and has some emotional side effects while on the medication and even during withdrawal. This made me gain weight, due to water retention and an increased appetite (especially for sweets). This was written on the label.
Ranitidine - 1 tab (2x a day) Antihistamine used to reduce swelling.
Hydroxyzine - 3 tab (4x a day) - cousin to Benadryl. Effective on itching.
Allegra - 1 tab (2x a day) - another antihistamine
I hate taking medication, so this many pills a day really gets on my nerves. However, when I get a deforming flare up, I only take Prednisone then or even if I want to prevent it from affecting a planned even (like I recently did for a ball, when I wore a strapless gown). Now, prednisone (steroids) are not recommended because in addition to a hostile reoccurrence once stopped, it makes you gain weight and is known for causing osteoporosis. So, only use in emergencies. Now, I should mention that in addition to this, I'm being treated for acne. Why me?! So, I've been also prescribed doxicyclin. While, I am hesitant to take another antibiotic since the Bactrum, I also can't stand the sight of another zit plus a hive! At night, I take the cocktail of drugs above, but I use a combination of 3 claritin & 1 or 2 Benadryl (depending on what time it is)....I sorta know what times to avoid. During my menstrual period, I flare up. Also, when I eat acidic foods or sauces (especially sulfate preservatives), or experience stress, I have a flare up. Aveeno (colloidal oatmeal) bath packets have helped and also any mentholated lotions such as Sarna, Aveeno (with menthol) and Gold Bond have helped. I'm going to try to see if exercise (the exertion of sweat, a holistic diet and maybe even this new sweat/capsule stuff) will work. According to my allergist, he said CU is like a check engine light in your body that won't go off, it just tells the body to react in hives and/or swelling non-stop. He says it's treated like symptoms in the lupus family, but is life altering rather than life threatening. Good news is, it's curable. Bad news, it depends on the patient, could take, days, weeks, months or years. I hope I'm one of the lucky ones. If anybody else knows of a holistic or innovative way of improving my quality of life, in addition to these meds, please let me know. I'll let you know how it works out. Good luck!