Management of Itch in Atopic Dermatitis

PRURITUS/ITCH: THE SCIENCE AND TREATMENT

Management of Itch in Atopic Dermatitis

Jun
2011
Vol. 30. No. 2
Joerg Buddenkotte, PhD | Judith Hong, MD | Martin Steinhoff, MD | Timothy G. Berger, MD

Atopic dermatitis is a common, pruritic, inflammatory skin disorder. Chronic, localized, or even generalized pruritus is the diagnostic hallmark of atopic dermatitis, and its management remains a challenge for physicians. The threshold for itch and alloknesis is markedly reduced in these patients, and infections can promote exacerbation and thereby increase the itch. Modern management consists of anti-inflammatory, occasionally antiseptic, as well as antipruritic therapies to address the epidermal barrier as well as immunomodulation or infection. Mild forms of atopic dermatitis may be controlled with topical therapies, but
moderate-to-severe forms often require a combination of systemic treatments consisting of antipruritic and immunosuppressive drugs, phototherapy, and topical compounds. In addition, patient education and a therapeutic regimen to help the patient cope with the itch and eczema are important adjuvant strategies for optimized long-term management. This review highlights various topical, systemic, and complementary and alternative therapies, as well as provide a therapeutic ladder for optimized long-term control of itch in atopic dermatitis.
Semin Cutan Med Surg 30:71-86 © 2011 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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