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Help for Hives has been created and funded by Novartis Pharmaceuticals UK Ltd.

Getting diagnosed with 
urticaria and CSU

Your healthcare specialist should gather a detailed background of your history including:

  • Frequency, timing and duration of symptoms
  • Size, shape, distribution and associated symptoms of hives and/or swelling
  • Family and medical history, including allergies 
  • Correlation with any triggers, including food, exercise and drug use 
  • Work, hobbies, smoking habits and stress 
  • Previous therapy and response to treatment

Treatment is individual and there are different options available. You can work in partnership with your doctor to find the best treatment for you to gain control of your symptoms and live the life you want to live.

Finding the right treatment for you

CSU is an unpredictable disease that often lasts for up to five years, sometimes longer, and should be managed in consultation with a doctor. With treatment, symptoms can be completely controlled and sustained, restoring quality of life.

Don’t put off telling your doctor about those things that you cannot do anymore because of your CSU and what you want from a treatment to help you with these things. Treatment recommendations will be based on the information you give them, and they are willing to listen if you tell them your current care plan isn’t doing enough for you.

There are many ‘stepwise’ treatments and dosing options available for CSU. It is important to regularly measure how well your treatment regimen is working in order for your healthcare professional to ‘step up’ or ‘step down’ treatment.

You and your doctor can work together to find the best treatment plan for you. Shared decision making will allow you to be involved in finding the best way forward to gain the control you need to live the life you want. Here are some options your doctor might recommend based on your condition.

Treatment options

Help to shape your own care

Many people living with CSU don’t have control over their symptoms. The unpredictability of flare-ups often leads to feelings of uncertainty and a lack of control, despite being under the care of healthcare professionals.2,3  

As difficult as you might find getting used to the symptoms of CSU, it doesn’t have to control you. Remember you have an important role to play in shaping your own care. Talk to your doctor about the possibility of complete control over your symptoms by regularly completing your patient reported outcome questionnaires.

Measuring your symptoms and maintaining regular contact with your healthcare professional means you have a degree of control that you can rely on day in, day out.

CSU is a chronic condition with an estimated duration of 1–5 years in most cases4

estimated duration
time from onset
importance of

The importance of regularly measuring your condition

Keeping a regular record of the severity and frequency of your condition will really help your healthcare professional to gain a deeper understanding of your urticaria.  It can even help them to diagnose you with chronic spontaneous urticaria if your symptoms have persisted for more than six weeks.

Measure your urticaria impact

Take control of your treatment journey with HiveHelper

To help your doctor find the best treatment for you, it is really important to measure your condition regularly.  HiveHelper is our virtual companion to help you learn more about urticaria and CSU.

HiveHelper is only currently available if you have Facebook Messenger. We are working on another way for those without Facebook to access the virtual companion tool. If you don’t have Facebook, you can download our interactive PDF resources here, which you can use to measure the impact of urticaria and CSU.

talking to doctor

Talking to your doctor

If you find yourself changing or cancelling plans, missing out on being with friends and family, unable to work effectively or struggling to sleep because of your CSU, then speak to your doctor again and ask about the possibility of a treatment that will give you better control of your symptoms. Treatment is individual and there are different options available. You can work in partnership with your doctor to find the best treatment for you to gain control of your symptoms and live the life you want to live. Talk openly and honestly with them to ensure they understand the full impact that CSU is having on your day-to-day life.

By asking questions, you can be clearer about your options and have a better idea of what’s right for you and your life. The sooner you do so, the sooner you and your doctor can agree a better way forward.

Your patient pathway with urticaria

Work with your healthcare provider to help familiarise yourself with the expected patient pathway for Urticaria treatment. Protocols and services vary by region and locality, so it is important to consult them on what you can expect from your care.

As with any chronic condition, CSU needs ongoing management. Even if you feel happy with your care, it’s important to attend all your check-ups and keep communicating with your doctor so they can monitor your progress and adapt their approach if and when necessary. If you feel you aren’t getting any better being managed by your doctor, ask to see a specialist.

Patient being treated

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  1. Zuberbier T, et al. Allergy 2021;00:1–33
  2. Maurer M, et al. Unmet clinical needs in chronic spontaneous urticaria. A GA2LEN task force report. Allergy 2011;66(3):317–330;
  3. Novartis and Allergy UK. Wheals of despair [online] June 2014;
  4. Naqvi, M., & Ali, R. Chronic spontaneous urticaria: clinical features, diagnosis and management. Available online at: [Last accessed: April 2022]

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