Drug-induced Pruritus: A Review

Adam Reich, Sonja Ständer and Jacek C. Szepietowski
DOI: 10.2340/00015555-0650


Pruritus is an unpleasant sensation that leads to scratching. In addition to several diseases, the administration of drugs may induce pruritus. It is estimated that pruritus accounts for approximately 5% of all skin adverse reactions after drug intake. However, to date there has been no systematic review of the natural course and possible underlying mechanisms of drug-induced pruritus. For example, no clear distinction has been made between acute or chronic (lasting more than 6 weeks) forms of pruritus. This review presents a systematic categorization of the different forms of drug-induced pruritus, with special emphasis on a therapeutic approach to this side-effect.

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