Itching for answers: Prevalence and severity of pruritus in psoriasis.

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Abstract

BACKGROUND/OBJECTIVES

Pruritus is the most frequently reported complaint or symptom for psoriasis patients. Despite the morbidity associated with pruritus in psoriasis few studies have evaluated the prevalence of itch in psoriasis with the current use of biological agents.

METHOD

This was a multi-site cross-sectional observational study conducted in New South Wales, Australia. Psoriasis patients were approached during their outpatient clinic, phototherapy or private consultations. Data on psoriasis characteristics, severity and treatment were collected. The patients were then asked to complete a survey regarding the frequency, severity and aggravators of their psoriasis.

RESULTS

Data were collected from 179 patients with a mean age of 52.3 years, of whom 55% were male. Altogether 63 (35%) had a psoriasis area severity index (PASI) > 10, 42 (24%) were on biological agents and 84 (47%) were receiving phototherapy. The number of patients who reported itch all the time was 40 (22%), most of the time 48 (27%), and never 19 (11%). Patients with nail psoriasis were significantly less likely to have itch all or most of the time (P = 0.01). Itch all or most of the time was significantly more likely in patients with PASI > 10 (P = 0.013). No treatment was associated with reduced itch. Itch was reported to be most frequent in the winter season.

CONCLUSION

Few patients with psoriasis do not suffer from pruritus. Despite their promise, biological agents are not associated with reduced itch.

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