Therapy of chronic idiopathic urticaria with nifedipine: Demonstration of beneficial effect in a double-blinded, placebo-controlled, crossover trial Academic Article uri icon


  • The efficacy of nifedipine, a calcium channel antagonist, in the treatment of chronic idiopathic urticaria, was evaluated in a double-blinded, placebo-controlled, crossover trial. Ten patients with chronic urticaria refractory to maximally tolerated doses of H1 and H2 antihistamines and in whom extensive evaluation failed to identify a cause for their urticaria were entered into the study. Patients continued with their prestudy antihistamine regimens. A study drug dosage was titrated in each patient and maintained throughout the trial. Patients were treated with placebo or nifedipine for 4 weeks and then crossed over to the other medication for 4 weeks. One patient withdrew because of unrelated medical illness, two patients withdrew after crossover to placebo because of intolerable urticaria, and seven patients completed the study. A beneficial effect of nifedipine was clearly demonstrated. Hive count, hive index, and itch index were all significantly improved at the end of 4 weeks of nifedipine treatment (p = 0.023, 0.003, and 0.003, respectively) but not placebo treatment (p = 0.194, 0.664, and 0.944, respectively). Additionally, end point hive index and itch index scores with nifedipine compared to corresponding placebo scores were significantly improved (p = 0.010 and 0.008, respectively). Nifedipine was well tolerated. Thus, when nifedipine is used as an adjunct to antihistamines, it appears to be a safe, efficacious drug for the treatment of chronic idiopathic urticaria.

author list (cited authors)

  • Bressler, R. B., Sowell, K., & Huston, D. P.

citation count

  • 57

publication date

  • April 1989