Skip to main page content
Access keys NCBI Homepage MyNCBI Homepage Main Content Main Navigation
Review
, 18 (4), 314-22

Psyche, Opioids, and Itch: Therapeutic Consequences

Affiliations
Review

Psyche, Opioids, and Itch: Therapeutic Consequences

Anjeli Krishnan et al. Dermatol Ther.

Abstract

A patient's psychological condition can substantially affect the presence and severity of pruritus, a phenomenon thought to be mediated by the central nervous system's (CNS) opioid neurotransmitter system. Specific psychodermatologic disorders associated with psychogenic pruritus, including depression, anxiety, chronic tactile hallucinations, delusions of parasitosis, neurotic excoriations, and other cutaneous compulsions are likely controlled by this pathway. Therefore, in treating these conditions, medications specifically directed at the CNS can be the most effective therapies, whereas topical and supportive therapy may be important adjuncts in targeting the associated pruritus. Furthermore, the impact of an understanding clinician and a good physician-patient relationship cannot be underestimated in determining ultimate prognosis. This review will begin by discussing the relationship between the psyche and pruritus as well as the opioid neurotransmitter system. Following this, several disorders characterized by psychogenic pruritus will be described, and CNS-specific and adjunctive topical and supportive therapies for these conditions will be detailed.

Similar articles

  • Neuropathic and Psychogenic Itch
    G Yosipovitch et al. Dermatol Ther 21 (1), 32-41. PMID 18318883. - Review
    Neuropathic and psychogenic itch are two entities that have not been well studied. Neuropathic itch is related to pathology located at any point along the afferent pathwa …
  • Chronic Pruritus: Targets, Mechanisms and Future Therapies
    E Pogatzki-Zahn et al. Drug News Perspect 21 (10), 541-51. PMID 19221635. - Review
    Pruritus (itch) is an unpleasant sensation inducing the desire to scratch. Chronic pruritus (>6 weeks' duration) is a major and distressing symptom of many diseases of …
  • Chronic Itch and Pain--Similarities and Differences
    S Ständer et al. Eur J Pain 10 (5), 473-8. PMID 16678456. - Review
    Both, pruritus and pain are aversive, but clearly distinct sensations originating in the peripheral and central nervous system. During the last years, many interactions b …
  • Neurophysiology of Pruritus: Interaction of Itch and Pain
    A Ikoma et al. Arch Dermatol 139 (11), 1475-8. PMID 14623707. - Review
    The discovery of an itch-specific neuronal pathway, which is distinct from the pain-processing pathway, has clarified the neuronal basis for the itch sensation. Albeit be …
  • Disease Mechanisms in Neuropathic Itch
    A Binder et al. Nat Clin Pract Neurol 4 (6), 329-37. PMID 18461071. - Review
    Itch, also known as pruritus, is an unpleasant cutaneous sensation that provokes the desire to scratch. Itch is a common symptom of inflammatory skin disorders, but it ca …
See all similar articles

Cited by 8 PubMed Central articles

  • Scalp Itch: A Systematic Review
    NE Vázquez-Herrera et al. Skin Appendage Disord 4 (3), 187-199. PMID 30197900. - Review
    Scalp itch is a frequent complaint in the dermatological setting. It is common for the dermatologist to encounter patients with no evident cause of scalp pruritus, making …
  • Matrine Inhibits Itching by Lowering the Activity of Calcium Channel
    X Geng et al. Sci Rep 8 (1), 11328. PMID 30054511.
    Sophorae Flavescentis Radix (SFR) is a medicinal herb with many functions that are involved in anti-inflammation, antinociception, and anticancer. SFR is also used to tre …
  • Psychogenic Itch
    L Misery et al. Transl Psychiatry 8 (1), 52. PMID 29491364. - Review
    Psychogenic itch can be defined as "an itch disorder where itch is at the center of the symptomatology and where psychological factors play an evident role in the trigger …
  • Psychotropics in Different Causes of Itch: Systematic Review With Controlled Studies
    LE Brasileiro et al. An Bras Dermatol 91 (6), 791-798. PMID 28099602. - Review
    Among the wide range of symptoms neglected or resistant to conventional treatments in clinical practice, itch is emerging gradually as a theme to be studied. Itch complai …
  • Chronic Pruritus in the Elderly: Pathophysiology, Diagnosis and Management
    R Valdes-Rodriguez et al. Drugs Aging 32 (3), 201-15. PMID 25693757. - Review
    Chronic itch in the elderly is a common problem, with a significant impact on quality of life and sleep in elderly patients. Chronic itch may be attributable to several c …
See all "Cited by" articles

MeSH terms

Substances

Feedback