Prurigo nodularis: retrospective study of 13 cases managed with methotrexate

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Abstract

Background.

Prurigo nodularis (PN), or nodular prurigo, is a chronic, debilitating, inflammatory skin disease. It can be very difficult to manage, and represents a challenge for the physician. Methotrexate (MTX) is a safe folic acid antagonist widely used in the management of inflammatory skin diseases such as psoriasis. Weekly administration of 7.5–20 mg methotrexate (low-dose methotrexate, LD-MTX) represents an attractive treatment option, and could therefore find a place in the management of PN.

Aim.

To evaluate the efficacy of LD-MTX as a treatment option for PN.

Methods.

Thirteen patients who had failed to respond to conventional therapies such as topical steroids, phototherapy and antipruritic agents were treated with LD-MTX. The mean age of the patients was 75.83. Objective symptoms (Prurigo Nodularis Area and Severity Index; PNASI) and subjective symptoms (Pruritus Numeric Rating Scale; PNRS) were recorded. Treatment consisted of one subcutaneous injection of MTX 7.5–20 mg once weekly for a minimum of 6 months. Adjuvant application of emollients and topical steroids was maintained where needed.

Results.

There was remission or marked improvement (decrease in both PNRS or PNASI of > 75%) in 10 cases, a trend to improvement in 2 cases and relapse in 1 case after treatment discontinuation.

Conclusions.

LD-MTX may allow improvement of PN in some patients, with long-lasting remission.

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