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Novartis says drug reduces itch of severe chronic hives

A Novartis logo is pictured on its headquarters building in Mumbai April 1, 2013. REUTERS/Vivek Prakash
A Novartis logo is pictured on its headquarters building in Mumbai April 1, 2013. REUTERS/Vivek Prakash

ZURICH (Reuters) - Swiss drugmaker Novartis said on Saturday its drug omalizumab was almost doubly effective in improving quality of life for patients with a severe form of hives, compared with a placebo, according to a late-stage study.

The third and final late-stage study of omalizumab for treating the skin disease chronic spontaneous urticaria (CSU) found the drug was nearly twice as effective versus a placebo in improving life quality within 12 weeks of treatment, while also significantly reducing itch and hives caused by the condition.

Novartis said it had filed applications for the approval of omalizumab for treating patients with CSU to U.S. and European Union health authorities in the third quarter.

Omalizumab, which is also known as Xolair, is already approved for treating severe asthma.

(Reporting by Alice Baghdjian; Editing by David Holmes)

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