Topical Therapies for Pruritus

PRURITUS/ITCH: THE SCIENCE AND TREATMENT

Topical Therapies for Pruritus

Jun
2011
Vol. 30. No. 2
Ethan A. Lerner, MD,PhD | Sarina B. Elmariah, MD, PhD

Itch, or pruritus, is the predominant symptom associated with acute and chronic cutaneous
disease, and in some cases may be debilitating. To date, there is no single universally
effective anti-itch treatment. Because the pathophysiology of itch in most cutaneous or
systemic disorders remains unclear, antipruritic therapy is often directed against a variety
of targets, including the epidermal barrier, immune system, or the nervous system. Topical
therapy is the mainstay of dermatologic management of acute or localized itch or in patients
with contraindications to systemic therapies. This review will summarize current topical
therapies to treat pruritus and discuss potential future therapies.
Semin Cutan Med Surg 30:118-126 © 2011 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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