Psychopathology Associated with Chronic Pruritus: A Systematic Review

Acta Derm Venereol. 2023 Aug 22:103:adv8488. doi: 10.2340/actadv.v103.8488.


There are no previous studies of the psychopathology associated with different aetiologies of chronic pruritus. A systematic review was performed of cohort and case-control studies comparing healthy controls with patients with chronic pruritus related to primary dermatoses, systemic diseases, psychogenic pruritus, idiopathic pruritus, prurigo nodularis and/or lichen simplex chronicus. The review was registered in PROSPERO and performed according to the PRISMA statement, which allowed the inclusion of 26 studies. The quality of eligible studies was assessed using the modified Newcastle-Ottawa Scale. Most of the studies concern primary dermatoses and systemic diseases. Sleep disorders are a common comorbidity interrelated with pruritus, anxiety and depressive symptoms, in primary dermatoses. Sleep disorders are linked with pruritus and depressive symptoms in end-stage renal disease and hepatobiliary disease. Depressive and anxiety symptoms are associated with psychogenic pruritus. Psychogenic pruritus, lichen simplex chronicus and some primary dermatoses are linked with personality characteristics. Further studies are required to explore in depth the psychopathology linked with psychogenic pruritus and prurigo nodularis, as well as psychopathology linked with other primary dermatoses and systemic disorders associated with chronic pruritus, and to better differentiate psychogenic pruritus from psychopathological characteristics linked with other aetiologies of chronic pruritus, in order to improve the management of patients with chronic pruritus.

Publication types

  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Mental Disorders* / diagnosis
  • Mental Disorders* / epidemiology
  • Neurodermatitis*
  • Prurigo*
  • Pruritus / diagnosis
  • Pruritus / epidemiology
  • Psychophysiologic Disorders