Challenges in Clinical Research and Care in Pruritus
Manuel P. Pereira, Claudia Zeidler, Michael Storck, Konstantin Agelopoulos, Wolfgang G. Philipp-Dormston, Alexander Zink, Sonja Ständer
Chronic pruritus is a frequent global condition. The pathophysiology, underlying aetiology, clinical manifestation, associated burden and response to therapy of chronic pruritus varies from patient to patient, making clinical research and management of this condition challenging. There are still several unmet needs, such as the need to standardize translational research protocols, diagnostic and therapeutic procedures and to enhance the knowledge of the humanistic and economic burden associated with chronic pruritus. Basic and clinical research is of the utmost importance to target these matters. Clinical research has the potential to identify new relevant mechanisms in affected patients, which may lead to identification of novel therapy targets. This article discusses in depth current shortcomings in the daily care of patients with chronic pruritus and the challenges clinical researchers and physicians treating chronic pruritus face in addressing these matters.
Itch lasting for 6 weeks or more is considered chronic and represents a high burden for those affected. Various aspects of chronic itch, including the underlying origin of the itch, symptoms, skin manifestations, response to therapies and impairment of quality of life vary from patient to patient, constituting a challenge for clinicians and clinical researchers. Unmet needs, such as the standardization of experimental and clinical research protocols, diagnostic procedures and therapeutic regimens, as well as a better understanding of associated burdens and the development of novel effective therapies should be targeted by physicians and researchers dealing with chronic itch.