Antihistaminic drugs are commonly used as symptomatic therapy of atopic dermatitis in dogs. Unfortunately, their clinical benefit is largely unsubstantiated. In a double-blinded, placebo-controlled, cross-over trial, the influence of dimetinden and of a combination of chlorpheniramine and hydroxyzine on pruritus and lesions was evaluated in 19 dogs. They were treated with either product or a placebo orally for 14 days, each time followed by a 14-day washout period. Before and after each period, the dogs were examined and the Canine Atopic Dermatitis Extent and Severity Index (CADESI) determined by a clinician, and the pruritus and general condition by the owner. Dimetinden improved the pruritus significantly (P=0.014) but not the CADESI (P=0.087), the combination of hydroxyzine and chlorpheniramine improved the CADESI (P=0.049) and pruritus (P=0.05) significantly. Ten of 17 dogs improved by more than 25 per cent in pruritus with the combination of hydroxyzine and chlorpheniramine, 12 of 18 with dimetindenmaleate and only 2 of 19 with placebo. Antihistamines can help to reduce pruritus in atopic dogs, but in most cases, the improvement is limited and additional treatment may be needed.
- Clinical trials