Clinical characteristics of pruritus in chronic idiopathic urticaria

G Yosipovitch, N Ansari, A Goon, Y H Chan, C L Goh
British Journal of Dermatology 2002, 147 (1): 32-6

BACKGROUND: Although pruritus is a predominant symptom of chronic idiopathic urticaria (CIU) its clinical characteristics have not been explored.

OBJECTIVES: To characterize the clinical pattern and sensory and affective dimensions of the itch experience, utilizing a comprehensive itch questionnaire.

METHODS: A structured questionnaire based on the McGill pain questionnaire was used in 100 patients suffering from CIU randomly recruited from a tertiary referral centre.

RESULTS: All 100 patients recruited with CIU completed the questionnaire. In 68 patients pruritus appeared on a daily basis. Most patients experienced their pruritus at night and in the evening (n = 83), and 62 reported difficulty in falling asleep. Pruritus involved all body areas, but mostly the arms (n = 86), back (n = 78) and legs (n = 75). Accompanying symptoms were a sensation of heat in 45 patients and sweating in 15. Most patients (n = 98) were prescribed antihistamines (mainly sedating), of whom 34 experienced long-term relief. The sensation of itch was reported to be stinging (n = 27), tickling (n = 25) and burning (n = 23). Seventy-six patients found their pruritus bothersome, 66 annoying and 14 complained of depression. The itch intensity at its peak was more than double that felt after a mosquito bite. The worst itch scores of those who felt depressed were significantly higher than of those who did not (P = 0.018). There was a positive correlation between the sensory and affective scores during worst itch (P < 0.001).

CONCLUSIONS: This study describes the itch experienced in CIU, highlighting sensory and affective dimensions. The itch questionnaire was found to be a valuable tool for evaluating pruritus in CIU and its unique features.


You are not logged in. Sign Up or Log In to join the discussion.

Related Papers

Available on the App Store

Available on the Play Store
Remove bar
Read by QxMD icon Read

Search Tips

Use Boolean operators: AND/OR

diabetic AND foot
diabetes OR diabetic

Exclude a word using the 'minus' sign

Virchow -triad

Use Parentheses

water AND (cup OR glass)

Add an asterisk (*) at end of a word to include word stems

Neuro* will search for Neurology, Neuroscientist, Neurological, and so on

Use quotes to search for an exact phrase

"primary prevention of cancer"
(heart or cardiac or cardio*) AND arrest -"American Heart Association"