As an allergic skin reaction, the red, itchy welts that chronic hives create can cause pain and irritability, sometimes for as long as six weeks and for some people occurs daily.

Vitamin D as an add-on therapy could provide relief for chronic hives, a condition with no cure and few treatment options.

A Multi-Drug Therapy

For a period of 12 weeks, 38 study volunteers took a daily triple-drug combination of allergy medication (one prescription and two over-the-counter drugs) and one vitamin D3, a readily available over-the-counter supplement. The patients had suffered from chronic hives from five to 20 years. Half the patients took 600 IUs of vitamin D3, and half took a larger dose at 4000 IUs. Researchers found that after only one week, the severity of the outbreaks had decreased by 33 percent for both groups. At the end of three months on the regimen, the group taking the larger 4000 IU dosage had a further 40 percent decrease in severity of hives. The lower dosage showed no further decrease beyond what occurred in the first week.

Availability and Side Effects

“We consider the results in patients a significant improvement,” noted Dr. Jill Poole, principal investigator of the study. “This higher dosing of readily available vitamin D3 shows promise without adverse effects. Vitamin D3 could be considered a safe and potentially beneficial therapy. It was not a cure, but it showed benefit when added to anti-allergy medications. Patients taking the higher dose had less severe hives – they didn’t have as many hives and had a decrease in the number of days a week they had hives.”

The cause of hives – beyond an allergic reaction – is not known. Treatment options are varied and limited. “Standard therapy is to control symptoms with antihistamines and other allergy medications,” Poole said. “Some are costly and can pose substantial side effects.”

Source: MedicalNewsToday, Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology

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