Treatment options for chronic hives include corticosteroids, antihistamines and epinephrine injections, the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America explains. These treatments are used to manage symptoms and reduce the likelihood of a breakout. The most reliable form of treatment is avoiding the individual’s trigger for hives.
Non-sedating H1 antihistamines are the first attempted treatment option, according to AAFA. H2 antihistamines and more powerful types may be used if non-sedating H1 antihistamines fail to produce any results. Corticosteroids, epinephrine injections and other forms of treatment are used if no antihistamines prove helpful. Non-sedating H1 antihistamines are typically effective and cause minimal side effects, while stronger antihistamines typically have more pronounced side effects. As corticosteroids have significant side effects when used for an extended period, they are typically prescribed for the minimum amount of time at the minimum necessary dosage.
Chronic hives, also known as chronic urticaria, refers to a case of hives that persists, or disappears but frequently returns, for six weeks or longer, AAFA states. In many cases, no clear cause can be determined, and in some cases, no cause can be identified after lengthy attempts at diagnosis. In 15 to 20 percent of cases, hives are a reaction to a physical stimulus such as extreme temperature or stressful physical activity.