If your symptoms are mild, you may not need treatment. Many cases of hives and angioedema clear up on their own. But treatment can offer relief for intense itching, serious discomfort or symptoms that persist.
Treatments for hives and angioedema may include:
- Antihistamines. The standard treatment for hives and angioedema is antihistamines, medications that reduce itching, swelling and other allergy symptoms.
- Corticosteroids. For severe hives or angioedema, doctors may sometimes prescribe an oral corticosteroid drug — such as prednisone — to reduce swelling, redness and itching.
- Autoimmune drugs. If antihistamines and corticosteroids are ineffective, your doctor might prescribe drugs used to calm your overactive immune system.
- Blood protein controllers. If you have hereditary angioedema, a variety of medications can regulate levels of certain blood proteins and relieve your signs and symptoms.
For a severe attack of hives or angioedema, you may need a trip to the emergency room and an emergency injection of epinephrine — a type of adrenaline. If you have had a serious attack or your attacks recur, despite treatment, your doctor may have you carry a pen-like device that will allow you to self-inject epinephrine in emergencies.
Feb. 14, 2014
- Goldsmith LA, et al., eds. Fitzpatrick's Dermatology in General Medicine. 8th ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2012. http://www.accessmedicine.com/resourceTOC.aspx?resourceID=740. Accessed Aug. 6, 2013.
- Bingham CO. New onset urticaria. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Aug. 6, 2013.
- Goldman L, et al. Cecil Medicine. 24th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2012. http://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed Aug. 6, 2013.
- Bingham CO. An overview of angioedema: Clinical features, diagnosis and management. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Aug. 6, 2013.