Content » Vol 99, Issue 2

Clinical Report

Occurrence, Chronicity and Intensity of Itch in a Clinical Consecutive Sample of Patients with Skin Diseases: A Multi-centre Study in 13 European Countries

Christina Schut, Florence J. Dalgard, Jon Anders Halvorsen, Uwe Gieler, Lars Lien, Lucía Tomas Aragones, Françoise Poot, Gregor B. E. Jemec, Laurent Misery, Lajos Kemény, Francesca Sampogna, Henriët van Middendorp, Flora Balieva, Dennis Linder, Jacek C. Szepietowski, Andrey Lvov, Servando E. Marron, Ilknur K. Altunay, Andrew Y. Finlay, Sam Salek, Jörg Kupfer
DOI: 10.2340/00015555-3040


Itch is an unpleasant symptom, affecting many dermatological patients. Studies investigating the occurrence and intensity of itch in dermatological patients often focus on a single skin disease and omit a control group with healthy skin. The aim of this multi-centre study was to assess the occurrence, chronicity and intensity (visual analogue scale 0–10) of itch in patients with different skin diseases and healthy-skin controls. Out of 3,530 dermatological patients, 54.3% reported itch (mean ± standard deviation itch intensity 5.5 ± 2.5), while out of 1,094 healthy-skin controls 8% had itch (3.6 ± 2.3). Chronic itch was reported by 36.9% of the patients and 4.7% of the healthy-skin controls. Itch was most frequent (occurrence rates higher than 80%) in patients with unclassified pruritus, prurigo and related conditions, atopic dermatitis and hand eczema. However, many patients with psychodermatological conditions and naevi also reported itch (occurrence rates higher than 19%).


This European multi-centre study investigated the occurrence, chronicity and intensity of itch in a large sample of outpatients with different skin diseases and healthy-skin controls. In this study 54.3% of patients and 8% of healthy-skin controls had itch at the time of investigation. Chronic itch was reported by 36.9% of patients and 4.7% of healthy-skin controls. The mean itch intensity in patients was 5.5 ± 2.5 (on a scale from 0–10) compared with 3.6 ± 2.3 in healthy-skin controls. Thus, itch is a very common, intense symptom among dermatological outpatients for which better specific therapies are needed.

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