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Open Access Somatic and Psychiatric Comorbidity in Patients with Chronic Pruritus

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It has been reported that 10–50% of patients with pruritus but no skin rash have an underlying systemic disease and up to 70% a psychiatric one. The aim of this retrospective study was to review the records of a large number of patients with chronic pruritus for concomitant diseases and treatment options. Medical records of 139 patients (52 males, 87 females) with chronic pruritus who visited the outpatient dermatological clinic during a 17-month period were reviewed. Itch was the presenting symptom in 6 of 47 patients with systemic disease and in 17 of 31 patients with psychiatric disease. Twenty-four patients had neuropathic itch and 37 patients had pruritus of unknown origin. The most severe and long-lasting itch was found in patients with multiple systemic diseases and in those with pruritus of unknown origin. Pruritus of the scalp and face was most common in psychogenic pruritus. Phototherapy was found to be a useful therapeutic option. In conclusion, systemic diseases are unlikely to cause chronic pruritus in patients consulting a dermatology department.

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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: June 1, 2010

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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