Managing chronic urticaria and recurrent angioedema differently with advancing age

Angioedema and urticaria affect people of all ages. Accurate diagnosis and optimum management is essential for healthy aging. Older people continue to experience mast cell-mediated urticaria and angioedema, with a higher prevalence of autoimmune and a lower prevalence of autoallergic disease. Bradykinin-mediated angioedemas are more common in the elderly because of their association with angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor (ACEI) treatment. Acquired C1-inhibitor deficiency, another bradykinin-mediated angioedema, occurs predominantly in older people, whereas hereditary angioedema due to C1-inhibitor deficiency continues to cause symptoms, even in old age. Drug-induced angioedemas disproportionately affect older people, the most frequent users of ACEIs, aspirin, and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. Accurate diagnosis and targeted treatment prevent unnecessary morbidity and mortality. Second-generation antihistamines with omalizumab if required are effective and well tolerated in older people with mast cell-mediated urticaria. For bradykinin-mediated angioedemas, these drugs are ineffective. C1-inhibitor replacement or blockade of kallikrein or the bradykinin B2 receptor of the contact pathway is required to treat hereditary angioedema and may be considered in other bradykinin-mediated angioedemas, if supportive treatment is insufficient. For aspirin-related angioedema and urticaria, alternative medications or, exceptionally, desensitization may be required. Copyright © 2021 American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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