Qualitative data suggest that pruritus is a burdensome symptom in patients with epidermolysis bullosa (EB), but the prevalence of pruritus in children and adults with EB and factors that contribute to pruritus are unknown. The objective of the current study was to quantitatively identify and to characterize pruritus that EB patients experience using a comprehensive online questionnaire. A questionnaire was developed to evaluate pruritus in all ages and all types of EB. Questions that characterize pruritus were included and factors that aggravate symptoms were investigated. Patients from seven North American EB centers were invited to participate. One hundred forty-six of 216 questionnaires were completed (response rate 68%; 73 male, 73 female; median age 20.0 years). Using a 5-point Likert scale (1 = never, 2 = rarely, 3 = sometimes, 4 = often, 5 = always), itchiness was the most bothersome EB complication (mean 3.3). The average daily frequency of pruritus increased with self-reported EB severity. Pruritus was most frequent at bedtime (mean 3.8) and interfered with sleep. Factors that aggravated pruritus included healing wounds, dry skin, infected wounds, stress, heat, dryness, and humidity. Pruritus is common in individuals with EB and can be bothersome. Future studies will need to investigate the most effective treatments given to individuals with EB for pruritus.
© 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.