Therapy of pruritus

Expert Opin Pharmacother. 2010 Jul;11(10):1673-82. doi: 10.1517/14656566.2010.484420.


Importance of the field: Pruritus is the predominant symptom of skin disease. Owing to the poorly understood pathophysiology, the development of effective treatment modalities for pruritus has proven to be particularly difficult. At present, there is no universally accepted therapy for itch. The purpose of this review is to provide an update on the treatment of pruritus.

Areas covered in this review: An overview of current, emerging and possible future therapies for pruritus is provided.

What the reader will gain: Insights into possible treatment regimes for pruritus in different clinical scenarios.

Take home message: The therapy of pruritus is challenging and at present takes on an individualistic approach. Recent advancements in the mechanisms that underlie this distressing symptom have identified new targets for future therapy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adrenal Cortex Hormones / administration & dosage
  • Antidepressive Agents / therapeutic use
  • Antipsychotic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Capsaicin / therapeutic use
  • Emollients / therapeutic use
  • Histamine Antagonists / administration & dosage
  • Humans
  • Immunologic Factors / administration & dosage
  • Menthol / therapeutic use
  • Pruritus / drug therapy*


  • Adrenal Cortex Hormones
  • Antidepressive Agents
  • Antipsychotic Agents
  • Emollients
  • Histamine Antagonists
  • Immunologic Factors
  • Menthol
  • Capsaicin