Hello Everyone! We had a great post in the cholinergic urticaria forum a couple of days ago by a new member concerning possible treatment of cholinergic urticaria by using anti-immunoglobulin E therapy. A medical article excerpt seemed to indicate successful treatment of Cholinergic Urticaria with this therapy. I am always interested in learning as much as I can about cholinergic urticaria, as well as latest treatments and tests, so I found the article and information very interesting (thanks again for posting the info).
Again, let me briefly mention that I am not a medical doctor, and this is a collection of information I found available on the web. I can’t always guarantee 100% accuracy, and this is not meant to be medical advice, but merely my own opinions and research.
The article posted didn’t give any information except for the main headline which reads, “Successful treatment of cholinergic urticaria with anti-immunoglobulin E therapy.” It does not give any information about the dose, length of treatment, or anything else. However the headline gives us enough information to reveal that at least 1 person had a successful experience with immunoglobulin therapy. So I thought it deserved a closer look.
What is Immunoglobulin E?
According to Wikipedia, Immunoglobulin E is a class of antibody that plays an important role in allergy, and is especially associated with type 1 hypersensitivity. An Antibody (also known as immunoglobulins) are gamma globulin proteins that are found in blood or other bodily fluids of vertebrates, and are used by the immune system to identify and neutralize foreign objects, such as bacteria and viruses. It is also known to play a major role in allergies, and can cause powerful allergic reactions (as we can all vouch for…right?).
IgE elicits an immune response by binding to Fc receptors found on the surface of mast cells and basophils, and are also found on eosinophils, monocytes, macrophages and platelets in humans.
So basically Immunoglobulin is an antibody that works with the immune system in helping it to detect potentially harmful things within the body (such as viruses or bacteria).
What is Anti-Immunoglobulin E Therapy?
Okay, so we know a little more about Immunoglobulin E, but what is anti-immunoglobulin E therapy? Anti-immunoglobulin therapy attempts to reduce the levels of IgE by forcing the IgE to bind to chemical receptors, and prevents IgE from binding to mast cells and basophils-thus reducing allergic responses and outbreaks.
So basically anti-immunoglobulin E therapy usually involves using a chemical/manufactured antibody to artificially bind to the excess IgE, which prevents IgE from binding to mast cells. Since the IgE often intitiates the allergic attacks on mast cells, this treatment helps reduce the allergic response.
This treatment is often done with a chemical/medicine called Omalizumab (Xolair). Xolair is often used in the treatment of asthma, and sometimes it is also experimentally used in other allergies. You can find more about Xolair here.
Could Anti-Immunoglobulin E Therapy Treat Cholinergic Urticaria
After some “googling” on anti-immunoglobulin E therapy, it seems that this is a relatively new thing, and they have experimentally used this in several allergies. I was able to find articles on this being used on everything from food allergies (such as peanut allergies), to HIV/AIDS, Asthma, and more. Some treatments were effective, some were not.
Again, the fact that some cases of other allergies weren’t successfully treated made me a little less optimistic about it, and even an Anti-IgE company states it may not work on everyone. After all, we know there have been steroids, anti-histamine, and other treatments that have also helped treat CU with mixed results as well.
As already mentioned, it seems that at least one case of a person with CU was successfully treated as the medical article excerpt mentioned, however, we do not know the specific details about that case. However, the research and experiments could at least help us to find out more about cholinergic urticaria, and hopefully one day we can find out more about it–such as what caused it in the first place and how to cure or successfully treat it (safely).
This may be something you want to mention with your doctor, however, I am sure there is a lot unknown about anti-IgE therapy, so I would be extremely cautious and really think hard and talk to a lot of medical professionals before attempting to try it.
Is Anti-Immunoglobulin E Therapy Safe?
This is a bit hard to know for sure, as many articles I read stated that this was still relatively new, and being tested for safeness. One article I read here seems to indicate that there are some known risks with some forms of anti-immunoglobulin E therapy. The main risks mentioned were risks such as catching potential viruses or diseases such as HIV (in treatments where you get anti-immunoglobulin from blood donors). I am not sure if this is true with all forms of Anti-immunoglobulin therapy or not.
Another somewhat scary thing about this therapy is the fact that it does reduce IgE. Here is one thing that was scary about using anti IgE treatments:
“Recent research suggests that IgE might play an important role in the immune system’s recognition of cancer cells,so indiscriminate blocking of IgE / receptor interaction might have unforeseen problems.”
So this seems to suggest that messing around with IgE blockers might not be a good idea for long term cancer risks. As a side note, I wonder if we do indeed have elevated IgE if we are at a lower risk for cancer?? Maybe CU is both a blessing and a curse?
My Personal Thoughts On It:
This was certainly interesting, and deserves a closer look. Of course, don’t ever do this without first talking to a doctor (or two), and I would definitely ask a lot of questions before trying any kind of anti-IgE therapy.
Would I do it? Probably not. The cancer thing was kind of scary. I am often worried about new medicines and treatments, because a lot of times new medicines fix one problem, but then mess something else up in our bodies. So maybe a new medicine fixes CU, but then we get cancer or some other crazy side effect a few years later. Sometimes I feel as if medicine manufacturers/doctors try to “play God” too often and don’t know the full consequences of some chemicals or treatments.
Also I have made a personal commitment to myself that I am going to try a lot of my own experiments (diet, sunlight, water filtration, etc.) that I know are more safe for at least the next year before I ever consider taking any type of medicine.
I would definitely like to see more research done on this, and more experiments. Perhaps this could one day in the future help treat many allergies and even cholinergic urticaria. Or maybe they find out a better way from this research they are doing right now. But I try to remain optimistic.