Objective To assess the clinical status of chronic spontaneous urticaria (CSU) and understand treatment approaches in Italy through specialists who treat CSU (dermatologists and allergy specialists) and CSU patients' experience.
Design Multicentre survey.
Setting Online structured questionnaires (one for physicians and one for patients).
Participants Physicians and patients with CSU in Italy.
Primary/secondary outcomes Physician and patient attitudes/experiences.
Results Survey results from 160 allergy and 160 dermatology specialists show that specialists see a median of 40 (IQR 20–80) patients with CSU/year. While most specialists (56%) know the CSU guidelines, only 27% use them regularly (36% of allergy specialists vs 18% of dermatologists). This is reflected in treatment choices with differences between physicians who use guidelines regularly and those who do not: 91.6% vs 71.7% choose standard-dose, non-sedating antihistamines as first-line treatment; 85.9% vs 56.0% select up-dosing for second-line treatment and 65.3% vs 37.2% add leukotriene receptor antagonists or H2-antihistamines as third-line treatment. The diaries from 1385 patients highlight that, regardless of treatment regimen, 29.4% of currently treated patients are refractory to therapy. Specialists aim to resolve symptoms and only 7.8% report improving quality of life (QoL) as a priority. Only 16.6% of specialists are familiar with and use the Urticaria Activity Score while 46.9% do not know it. Overall, 537 patients with CSU were surveyed (median age 37 years, IQR 30–46; 44.3% men; median disease duration 5 years, IQR 3–20). Approximately 62% confirm that CSU negatively impacts their QoL. Patients also complain of difficulties in getting information and support: <5% of medical centres provide patient support services.
Conclusions In Italy, the gap between guideline-based care and QoL-related needs in CSU patients affects treatment satisfaction. This information could be used to improve the management of CSU in Italy.
- chronic spontaneous urticaria
- patient assessment
- physician assessment
- multicenter study
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Contributors MR and NR were responsible for conception and design of the survey. MR was responsible for the acquisition of data; MR and NR had full access to the final data and performed the analysis. MR, NR and OR contributed to data interpretation and to the drafting and critical revision of the manuscript. All authors approved the final version and have final responsibility for content.
Funding Funding for the conduct of the survey, as well as for medical writing assistance and article processing charges, was provided by Novartis Farma, Italy.
Competing interests OR has been consultant and speaker for Meda, Novartis, MSD and Menarini in the last 5 years. MR is a partner of Stethos Srl and holds shares of this company. Stethos Srl collaborates with Novartis Farma, Italy on several market research studies. NR is an employee of Novartis Farma, Italy.
Ethics approval The research was conducted in conformity with the Code of Conduct 2014 of the European Pharmaceutical Market Research Association (EphMRA).
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.
Data sharing statement No additional data are available.
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