Management of Itch in the Elderly: A Review

Kayla M Fourzali, Gil Yosipovitch
Dermatology and Therapy 2019 September 23
Chronic itch is common in the elderly patient and may be caused by a variety of known dermatologic and non-dermatologic conditions and can have a significant effect on quality of life. Age-related changes in barrier function, immunosenescence, and neuronal changes and neuropathies are common predisposing factors to chronic itch in this age group. Certain primary dermatologic conditions are more common in the elderly and can cause chronic itch. Also, co-morbid diseases particularly of the renal, hepatobiliary, or hematologic systems, psychologic conditions, or medications may contribute to chronic itch in this population. Thus, medical workup for an elderly patient with chronic itch requires special attention to the patient's medical history, current health status, and medications. Topical treatments and emollients may be recommended for elderly patients, with consideration of specific adverse effects and alternatives. Systemic medications pose a higher risk of adverse effects and many are contraindicated in the elderly for this reason. In addition, management in the elderly may be complicated by differential pharmacokinetics of medications, the presence of co-morbid health conditions, cognitive disorders, physical limitations, and polypharmacy. New and emerging treatment modalities hold promise for use in the elderly due to these special considerations.

Full Text Links

We have located open access full text paper links.


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"