Prevalence and Characteristics of Pruritus: A One-Week Cross-sectional Study in a German Dermatology Practice
Michaela E.R. Kopyciok, Hartmut F. Ständer, Nani Osada, Sabine Steinke, Sonja Ständer
Pruritus is a frequent sensation in dermatoses, but its prevalence in patients in dermatological practices has not been fully studied. The aim of this cross-sectional study is to investigate its prevalence and characteristics in all patients attending a dermatology practice in Germany over a period of one week (n = 334; 52.7% female; median age 45.0 years). The point prevalence of pruritus in this study population was 36.2% (87.6% of whom had chronic pruritus). It inhibited the everyday life of 73.6% of all patients, with 77.7% reporting a frequently to permanently experienced moderate intensity. (5.2 ± 2.3 on the numerical rating scale). Of the patients, 52.1% had previously consulted their general practitioner, and 62% had visited the dermatologist due to pruritus. This study shows that pruritus is a highly prevalent, clinically and economically relevant symptom in dermatological practices. The majority of patients suffering from chronic pruritus are severely burdened and medically underserved. Dermatologists should be aware that pruritus also occurs frequently in patients who do not primarily present due to their symptoms.