Solar urticaria

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Solar urticaria is a rare IgE-mediated and chromophore-dependent photodermatosis. In some cases, these chromophores, designated as “serum factor”, may be detected in serum or plasma. To date, the exact pathogenesis of solar urticaria has, however, not been elucidated. Typical clinical features include the onset of urticarial lesions within a few minutes after light exposure, which already raises diagnostic suspicion. The most common triggers are UVA and visible light. Determination of the action spectrum as well as the minimal urticarial dose (MDU) is diagnostically crucial. Other photodermatoses such as polymorphic light eruption or porphyrias (especially erythropoietic protoporphyria) have to be ruled out. Apart from sunlight avoidance, which is always required, further therapeutic options used include nonsedating antihistamines as well as light hardening. Newer treatment modalities such as plasmapheresis or the anti-IgE antibody omalizumab are reserved for severe, recalcitrant forms of solar urticaria.

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