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Back to Dermatology Diseases

Urticaria - Agioedema

Urticaria is a skin reaction characterized by red wheals. When deep dermal and subcutaneous tissues are also swollen, this reaction is known as angioedema. Angioedema may involve mucous membranes and may be part of a life-threatening anaphylactic reaction.

Symptoms and clinical manifestations

Urticarial lesions are characteristically pruritic, red wheals. Lesions may vary from a small point to a large area. Individual lesions rarely last more than 24 h. Urticarial lesions, along with pruritus and morbilliform (or maculopapular) eruptions, are among the most frequent types of cutaneous reactions to drugs. Angioedema can be life threatening especially when edema involves the larynx.


The treatment of urticaria or angioedema depends on the severity of the reaction and the rate at which it is evolving. In severe cases, especially with respiratory or cardiovascular compromise, epinephrine is the mainstay of therapy, but its effect is reduced in patients using beta blockers. For more seriously affected patients, treatment with systemic glucocorticoids, sometimes intravenously administered, are helpful.

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