Brewer, D. D. (2014). A systematic review of autohemotherapy as a treatment for urticaria and eczema. Cureus, 6(12): e233. doi:10.7759/cureus.233.
The injection of autologous whole blood or serum, known as autohemotherapy, was a standard dermatologic treatment in the early 1900s. Conventional dermatologists eventually abandoned autohemotherapy due to a lack of supporting evidence, even though there had been no formal attempts to assess its effectiveness. Recently, several investigators have evaluated autohemotherapy as a treatment for urticaria and eczema. I conducted a systematic review of the literature on autohemotherapy, focusing on treatment outcomes. The available evidence indicates that autohemotherapy does not have major side effects, and that minor adverse effects are short-lived and similar in frequency to those from placebo injections. Overall, autohemotherapy tends to be somewhat more effective in reducing symptoms than control therapy across studies, although the advantage is not statistically reliable. Urticaria patients who test positive on the autologous serum skin test display a moderately better response to autohemotherapy than patients who test negative. Based on the limited evidence available, autologous whole blood and autologous serum injections appear to have similar effectiveness. Furthermore, the severity of symptoms prior to treatment is not consistently related to patients' apparent response to autohemotherapy.