Double-blind comparison of terfenadine, chlorpheniramine, and placebo in the treatment of chronic idiopathic urticaria

J. Andrew Grant, David I. Bernstein, C. Edward Buckley, Theodore Chu, Roger W. Fox, Ross E. Rocklin, William F. Schoenwetter, Sheldon L. Spector, Chester T. Stafford, James E. Stroh, Kathleen M. Karpenter

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1 Scopus citations


The efficacy of terfenadine, a nonsedating H1, antihistamine, in the management of chronic idiopathic urticaria was compared with chlorpheniramine and placebo in a parallel multicenter trial. Subjects with symptoms of hives for 3 days per week for at least 6 weeks were initially screened and admitted if no identifiable cause for symptoms could be determined. Patients entered a single-blind placebo period, and if hives of moderate severity were present for at least 3 days during the week, they were randomly assigned in a double-blind fashion to take terfenadine, 60 mg twice daily, chlorpheniramine, 4 mg three times a day, or placebo for 6 weeks. Data were analyzed for 122 patients. Those patients receiving both active treatments noted significant improvement in symptoms: pruritus, redness, number of hives, and waking hours during which hives were present, at the end of the first day of therapy. Symptom control by terfenadine was statistically superior to placebo during all 6 weeks, as rated by both patients and investigators. However, statistical significance was not achieved for chlorpheniramine at all observation points. Diphenhydramine was permitted as a relief medication for refractory symptoms and was taken by 52% of subjects receiving placebo, 26% taking chlorpheniramine, and only 9% of patients who were receiving terfenadine. In addition to providing superior symptom control, terfenadine caused less drowsiness and fatigue than chlorpheniramine. Terfenadine is a useful therapeutic agent for primary management of chronic idiopathic urticaria.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)563-570
Number of pages8
JournalThe Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1988
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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