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Allergy. 2009 Apr;64(4):596-604. doi: 10.1111/j.1398-9995.2008.01893.x. Epub 2008 Nov 11.

Comparison of the efficacy of levocetirizine 5 mg and desloratadine 5 mg in chronic idiopathic urticaria patients.

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University of Cape Town Lung Institute, South Africa.



Nonsedating H(1)-antihistamines are recommended for the treatment of urticaria by the recent EAACI/GA(2)LEN/EDF guidelines. The aim of this study was to compare the efficacy, after 4 weeks of treatment, with levocetirizine 5 mg and desloratadine 5 mg, both once daily in the morning, in symptomatic chronic idiopathic urticaria (CIU) patients.


This multi-center, randomized, double-blind study involved 886 patients (438 on levocetirizine and 448 on desloratadine). The primary objective was to compare their efficacy on the mean pruritus severity score after 1 week of treatment. Mean pruritus severity score over 4 weeks and pruritus duration score, number and size of wheals, mean CIU composite score (sum of the scores for pruritus severity and numbers of wheals), quality of life, and the patient's and investigator's global satisfaction with treatment, were secondary efficacy measures.


Levocetirizine led to a significantly greater decrease in pruritus severity than desloratadine over the first treatment week; mean pruritus severity scores of 1.02 and 1.18 for levocetirizine and desloratadine, respectively (P < 0.001). The result was similar for the entire 4-week treatment period (P = 0.004). In addition, levocetirizine decreased pruritus duration and the mean CIU composite scores to a significantly greater extent than desloratadine during the first week (P = 0.002 and 0.005, respectively) and over the entire study (P = 0.009 and P < 0.05, respectively). Similarly, levocetirizine increased the patients' global satisfaction after one and 4 weeks (P = 0.012 and 0.021, respectively), compared with desloratadine. Safety and tolerability were similar in both groups.


Levocetirizine 5 mg was significantly more efficacious than desloratadine 5 mg in the treatment of CIU symptoms.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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