Double-Blind, Randomized, Pilot Study Assessing the Resolution of Postburn Pruritus


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Abstract

The objective of this study was to evaluate whether Provase®, a nonprescription moisturizer with a blend of protease enzymes, would reduce postburn itching in adult burn survivors relative to a control moisturizer. This was a prospective, single-center, double-blinded, pilot study where 23 burn survivors were randomized to either the treatment group, who applied Provase, or the control group, who applied the base moisturizer used in Provase every 8 hours for 4 weeks. Twelve were randomized to the treatment and 11 to the control groups with 9 participants in each group completing the study. There was no difference between groups with respect to gender, ethnicity, causative factor, TBSA burned, or time postinjury. Participant’s pruritus and scar were reevaluated on a weekly basis for 4 consecutive weeks. Relative to baseline, there was a significant reduction of itch duration in minutes at weeks 3 and 4, the number of days per week that itch was experienced at weeks 2, 3, and 4, and the number of itch episodes per day at week 2 for the treatment group. The itch TBSA reduced significantly relative to baseline for the treatment group at week 1, 2, and 3. The affective itch characteristics were significantly reduced for the treatment group for bothersome at weeks 1, 2, 3, and 4; for annoying at week 4; and for unbearable at weeks 2, 3, and 4. Although this was a pilot study and not powered for statistical differences, there were statistically significant differences for itch duration, weekly frequency, itch episodes per day, itch TBSA, and reported affective burden of itch after treatment. Further investigation is recommended with a larger sample size treated for a longer period of time where participants are stratified based on acute or chronic itch.

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