A Hapton mum-of-three who suffers from a debilitating skin condition has been given new hope through a clinical drug trial.
Miss Louise Webber has suffered from Chronic Spontaneous Urticaria for 15 years and had her first attack at 19, though she wasn’t diagnosed with the condition until a year later after visiting a number of dermatologists.
She described attacks as mentally and physically draining:
“My tongue, lips, fingers and toes swell and I feel as though I am on fire, I get wheals all around my head and chest and I feel nauseous and dizzy, this can last for hours. After an attack the remainder of my day is spent in bed recovering, I am so exhausted I can barely move.”
Miss Webber said her social life is “non-existent” down to the fear of having an attack.
“Dining out is stressful and unenjoyable due to fear of a reaction. Even general day-to-day activities such as playing with her three young sons, cleaning the house or even walking to the shop can cause Miss Webber to feel stressed and anxious as any amount of exercise can trigger the condition and cause an attack.
“I constantly feel down about how I look and I am terrified of people seeing me when I have an attack. I can’t exercise like most other people when they gain a little weight, I can’t go on the sunbed or wear certain tans.
“I have a constant feeling of helplessness and I have no confidence.”
Miss Webber studied to be a riding instructor but had to reconsider her career, after being out of work for 18 months due to the effects of the condition Miss Webber now works as a waitress in a cafe, a job which is less physically demanding.
The family had two horses that also had to be sold.
Hope has now been offered in the form of a drug called Omalizumab (trade name Xolair) which has been approved in Europe for CSU sufferers.
Previously used for chronic asthma sufferers, the drug is now undergoing clinical trials testing various conditions including Chronic Spontaneous Urticaria.
Miss Webber is taking part in the trial and is due to receive a second dose of the treatment in two weeks’ time.
After only one dose of the treatment Miss Webber is able to manage short bursts of exercise on the cross trainer but only time will tell if Xolair can improve the lives of sufferers.
CSU is thought to affect between 318,000 and 630,000 people in the UK at any given time.
It is a severe and distressing skin condition characterised by red, swollen, itchy and painful hives.