Chronic hives are treated with medications such as antihistamines and anti-inflammatory drugs or with home remedies and lifestyle changes, according to Mayo Clinic. Drugs used for unrelated issues, such as heartburn and depression, can also treat chronic hives.
Doctors first recommend over-the-counter antihistamines to treat a case of chronic hives, says Mayo Clinic. These medications include antihistamines found in the brand names Claritin, Allegra and Zyrtec, among others. These newer antihistamines have fewer side effects and do not cause drowsiness. If they do not work on hives, the older antihistamines, such as Benadryl, may be effective, but they come with the side effect of drowsiness.
Histamine blockers found in heartburn medications such as Tagamet, Zantac and Pepcid may also alleviate hives, reports Mayo Clinic. Other treatments include oral corticosteroids like Prednisone. Topical corticosteroids are not useful in treating hives and may even make them worse. A cream form of the tricyclic antidepressant doxepin can prevent itching.
Lifestyle changes and home remedies recommended by doctors to treat hives include wearing loose, light clothing; avoiding harsh detergent; and taking showers with cool water, notes Mayo Clinic. Doctors also recommend keeping a food diary and avoiding known triggers such as alcohol and caffeine.