The European multicentre study ETAC (Early Treatment of the Atopic Child) investigated the preventive effect of long-term (18 months) administration of cetirizine 0-25 mg/kg twice daily in 1-2-year-old children with atopic eczema and positive family history of allergies.14 On addition to the primary endpoint (asthma), symptoms typical for acute urticaria were recorded in a diary during the intervention period and a 6-month follow up. During the intervention period significantly fewer episodes of acute urticaria (5-8%) were reported in the intervention group compared with the placebo arm (16-2%). This effect did not persist after medication was stopped (3-0% versus 4-6%).14

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