People who suffer from chronic allergic hives, also called chronic urticaria and find that no antihistamine or treatment, can give them relief now have a new hope.

A drug that is currently approved and prescribed for asthma, Xolair, or technically called omalizumab, was shown in Phase III clinical trials to relieve hives and itchiness when injected monthly.

"This is the magic bullet that patients have been waiting for the last 40 years," said Dr. Marcus Maurer, the lead author of the study and a professor of dermatology and allergy at Charité-Universitätsmedizin in Berlin, according to the Times.

The drug is an antibody that binds to another antibody type, called IgE, that is a hey mediator in allergic reactions. The IgE antibody usually binds to cells that release histamine and cause the effects of an allergic reaction. By blocking the IgE antibodies with another antibody, their inflammatory effects are blocked.

The drug is made by Genentech /Roche and Novartis and costs between $6,000 and $24,000 per year.

Because the FDA has already approved this drug for another use, it should be easy to gain approval for use in conditions of chronic hives. Many suffers of chronic hives find little relief because often the underlying cause is unknown and cannot be avoided.

Many sufferers currently take steroids or immune suppressing drugs, which can lead to other complications such as more susceptibility to infections. This drug hold hope for those whom traditional treatment has no effect.

The study in the New England Journal of Medicine can be found here.