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Open Access Clinical Classification of Itch: a Position Paper of the International Forum for the Study of Itch

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Chronic itch is a common and distressing symptom that arises from a variety of skin conditions and systemic diseases. Despite this, there is no clinically based classification of pruritic diseases to assist in the diagnosis and cost-effective medical care of patients with pruritus. The proposed classification focuses on clinical signs and distinguishes between diseases with and without primary or secondary skin lesions. Three groups of conditions are proposed: pruritus on diseased (inflamed) skin (group I), pruritus on non-diseased (non-inflamed) skin (group II), and pruritus presenting with severe chronic secondary scratch lesions, such as prurigo nodularis (group III). The next part classifies the underlying diseases according to different categories: dermatological diseases, systemic diseases including diseases of pregnancy and drug-induced pruritus, neurological and psychiatric diseases. In some patients more than one cause may account for pruritus (category "mixed") while in others no underlying disease can be identified (category "others"). This is the first version of a clinical classification worked out by the members of the International Forum for the Study of Itch. It is intended to serve as a diagnostic route for better evaluation of patients with chronic pruritus and aims to improve patients' care.

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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Clinical Neurodermatology, Department of Dermatology, University of Münster 2: Department of Social Medicine, Occupational and Environmental Dermatology, University of Heidelberg 3: German Clinic for Diagnostics, Department of Nephrology, Wiesbaden, Germany 4: Department of Dermatology, Venerology and Allergology, University of Medicine, Wroclaw, Poland 5: Section of Neurobiology, Physiology and Behaviour, University of California, Davis, USA 6: Department of Dermatology, Kyoto University, Japan 7: Woodhull Medical and Mental Health Center, Brooklyn, New York, USA 8: Psychosomatic Dermatology, University of Giessen, Germany 9: Department of Dermatology, University Hospital Brest, France 10: Department of Dermatology, University Hospital Lund, Sweden 11: Department of Dermatology and Allergy, Technical University Munich and Division of Environmental Dermatology and Allergy GSF/TUM, Germany 12: Department of Dermatology, Aarau, Swiss 13: Clinical Neurodermatology, Department of Dermatology, University of M?nster 14: National Skin Centre, Singapore 15: Department of Anesthesiology and Intensive Care Medicine, Faculty of Clinical Medicine Mannheim, University of Heidelberg, Germany 16: Department of Dermatology, Neurobiology & Anatomy, and Regenerative Medicine, Wake Forest University Health Sciences Winston-Salem 17: Department of Dermatology, University of Massachusetts, Worcester, USA

Publication date: July 1, 2007

More about this publication?
  • Acta Dermato-Venereologica is a bi-monthly international peer-reviewed journal for clinical and experimental research in the field of dermatology and venereology.

    It was founded in 1920 by Johan Almqvist and edited during 1936-1969 by Sven Hellerström. Since 1970, the journal has been published for the Society for the Publication of Acta Dermato-Venereologica on a non-profit basis.

    Acta Dermato-Venereologica publishes high-quality manuscripts in English dealing with new observations on basic dermatological and venereological research, as well as clinical investigations. Each volume also features a number of review articles in special areas, as well as short Letters to the Editor to stimulate debate and to disseminate important clinical observations. Acta Dermato-Venereologica has rapid publication times and is amply illustrated with a large number of colour photographs to enhance understanding.

    Acta Dermato-Venereologica covers inter alia:

    • ~ Atopic dermatitis and contact allergy
    • ~ Facial dermatoses and adnexal disorders
    • ~ New treatments
    • ~ Psoriasis and genodermatoses
    • ~ Psychodermatology
    • ~ Sexually transmitted diseases
    • ~ Skin biology and inflammation
    • ~ Skin cancer and pigmentation
    • ~ Skin immunology and lymphoma
    • ~ Urticaria and itch

    Extensive papers, proceedings from congresses and symposia are printed as supplements to the journal. Announcements concerning pertinent dermatological meetings and books received are also published.
    Readership: Doctors and scientists interested in dermatology, skin biology and venereology.

    Acta Dermato-Venereologica has an impact factor of 3.007.

    Issues between 1998 up to 2005 can be found at

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