BACKGROUND: The therapeutic approaches to patients with chronic spontaneous urticaria (CSU) differ among health care professionals and may be influenced by many factors.
OBJECTIVES: This cross-sectional survey was aimed at evaluating physicians' attitudes regarding therapeutic management of CSU on clinical practice.
METHODS: A study-specific questionnaire was administered to a group of physicians (n=21) with a specialist interest in CSU from different areas of Italy (Group A) and also to other physicians (n=25) who manage CSU only occasionally in their clinical activity (Group B).
RESULTS: In case of ineffectiveness of second-generation antihistamines at standard doses, higher doses of the same drug were always or frequently prescribed by most physicians in both groups, and 64% in group B and one third in group A usually increased the dose up to twice. Old-generation antihistamines were never used in clinical practice by 14% of survey participants in group A and 24% in group B, with the remaining physicians reporting rare or occasional uses. The prescription of systemic corticosteroids appeared to be more common among physicians in group B. The question concerning the use of alternative drugs in refractory CSU produced different answers between the two groups. Costs and access to specialist reference centers were indicated as the most important barriers to the use of medications different from antihistamines.
CONCLUSIONS: These preliminary results suggest that therapeutic approaches to CSU seem to be heterogeneous in clinical practice and could be at least in part conditioned by the different medical settings where physicians usually work.