Treatment of Severe Excoriation Disorder With Mirtazapine: A Case Report

Clin Neuropharmacol. 2021 Sep-Oct;44(5):189-190. doi: 10.1097/WNF.0000000000000467.


Objective: Excoriation disorder is a disabling behavioral disorder characterized by compulsive and repetitive picking of the skin. Excoriation disorder has a lifetime prevalence of 3% to 5% in the general population, and it is most common in females. Its course is chronic, and it is characterized by fluctuating and frequent periods of exacerbation. Excoriation disorder is commonly comorbid with several psychiatric disorders. The treatment of this disorder is challenging and requires a multidisciplinary approach. Current literature has described an improvement in skin picking when patients are treated with fluoxetine or escitalopram; other studies have involved augmentation strategies using antipsychotics, such as olanzapine and aripiprazole; serotonin norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors; and N-acetyl-cysteine. Other pharmacological therapies include lamotrigine and opioid antagonists. Psychotherapies are additional nonpharmacological treatment modalities to consider in this condition.

Methods: We report the case of a 60-year-old Hispanic woman with severe excoriation disorder and several psychiatric comorbidities who responded remarkably to augmentation treatment with mirtazapine.

Conclusion: Mirtazapine is a noradrenergic and specific serotonergic antidepressant, and its antihistaminergic effect can relieve skin itching and pain.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Antidepressive Agents
  • Antipsychotic Agents* / therapeutic use
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Mental Disorders* / drug therapy
  • Middle Aged
  • Mirtazapine / therapeutic use
  • Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors


  • Antidepressive Agents
  • Antipsychotic Agents
  • Serotonin Uptake Inhibitors
  • Mirtazapine