Common neuropathic itch syndromes

Acta Derm Venereol. 2012 Mar;92(2):118-25. doi: 10.2340/00015555-1318.


Patients with chronic itch are diagnosed and treated by dermatologists. However, itch is a neural sensation and some forms of chronic itch are the presenting symptoms of neurological diseases. Dermatologists need some familiarity with the most common neuropathic itch syndromes to initiate diagnostic testing and to know when to refer to a neurologist. This review summarizes current knowledge, admittedly incomplete, on neuropathic itch caused by diseases of the brain, spinal cord, cranial or spinal nerve-roots, and peripheral nerves.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Central Nervous System Diseases / complications*
  • Central Nervous System Diseases / physiopathology
  • Humans
  • Nerve Fibers, Unmyelinated / physiology
  • Nociceptors / physiology
  • Pruritus / etiology*
  • Pruritus / physiopathology
  • Pruritus / therapy*
  • Radiculopathy / complications*
  • Radiculopathy / physiopathology
  • Syndrome
  • Trigeminal Nerve Diseases / complications*
  • Trigeminal Nerve Diseases / physiopathology