Psychometric properties of the Itch Numeric Rating Scale in patients with moderate-to-severe plaque psoriasis*

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Abstract

Background

Itching is a profoundly distressing symptom for many patients with psoriasis, but it has not been rigorously studied using validated tools for this condition.

Objectives

This study investigated the psychometric properties of the Itch Numeric Rating Scale (Itch NRS), a single-item patient-reported outcome (PRO) measuring the worst itching severity due to psoriasis in the past 24 h.

Methods

Using disease-specific clinician-rated and PRO data from one phase II and three phase III randomized clinical studies of subjects with moderate-to-severe plaque psoriasis, the Itch NRS was evaluated for test–retest reliability, construct validity and responsiveness. A responder definition was explored using anchor- and distribution-based methods.

Results

Test–retest reliability analyses supported the reproducibility of the measure (intraclass correlation coefficient range 0·71–0·74). To support the construct validity of the Itch NRS, large cross-sectional correlations with the Dermatology Life Quality Index (DLQI) Symptoms and Feelings domain (r ≥ 0·60 at baseline and r ≥ 0·80 at week 12) supported a priori hypotheses, while large correlations (r ≥ 0·71) between changes in Itch NRS scores and changes in DLQI Symptoms and Feelings domain scores from baseline to week 12 established responsiveness. A 4-point change was optimal for demonstrating a level of clinically meaningful improvement in itch severity after 12 weeks of treatment, which corresponds with marked clinical improvements in plaque psoriasis.

Conclusions

The Itch NRS demonstrated sufficient reliability, validity and responsiveness, and appropriate interpretation standards for evaluating change over time in itch severity among patients with moderate-to-severe plaque psoriasis when validated using clinical trial data for this condition.

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