Topical Therapies for Pruritus

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Itch, or pruritus, is the predominant symptom associated with acute and chronic cutaneous disease, and in some cases may be debilitating. To date, there is no single universally effective anti-itch treatment. Because the pathophysiology of itch in most cutaneous or systemic disorders remains unclear, antipruritic therapy is often directed against a variety of targets, including the epidermal barrier, immune system, or the nervous system. Topical therapy is the mainstay of dermatologic management of acute or localized itch or in patients with contraindications to systemic therapies. This review will summarize current topical therapies to treat pruritus and discuss potential future therapies.

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