Content » Vol 100, 100-year theme: Itch and pruritic disorders (Jan)


A New Generation of Treatments for Itch

Emilie Fowler, Gil Yosipovitch
DOI: 10.2340/00015555-3347


For decades, antihistamines have been the mainstay of treatment for chronic pruritus, yet they often only work by making patients drowsy and forgetful of their itch. A new era of antipruritic drugs is quickly approaching, presenting more effective treatments for patients suffering from chronic itch. Several treatments have been developed targeting specific receptors in the nervous system, such as the transient receptor potential channels, sodium channels, neurokinin-1 receptors, opioid receptors, and many more. Additionally, antipruritic therapies developed to work on the immune system have become more targeted, leading to greater safety and efficacy measures. These include crisaborole, several interleukin antagonists, and janus kinase inhibitors. The promising results presented with these new antipruritic therapies allow physicians to be better equipped to treat their itchy patients.


Itch is a pesky sensation that can be difficult to eliminate. Although a mainstay of anti-itch therapy for many decades, antihistamines are not an effective therapy for patients with chronic, unrelenting itch. With a greater understanding of itch, newer treatments have been developed that are much more effective. These include drugs targeting the neural system and drugs that affect the immune system.

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