Written by: Kofi Dwinfour

Pruritus is the medical term for what is colloquially called an itch. Although pruritus is a common symptom of many dermatological conditions, such as radiation dermatitis and atopic dermatitis, it can also be a standalone condition. Pruritus may be localised or generalised and can occur as an acute or chronic condition. Itching lasting more than six weeks is termed chronic pruritus.

Itching is a notable characteristic of some skin conditions (atopic eczema, dermatitis herpetiformis, lichen simplex chronicus, and nodular prurigo) and these conditions are rarely diagnosed in its absence. In conditions such as mild urticaria or aquagenic pruritus, the levels of histamine are sufficient for a sensory but not a vascular response, and there may be no skin findings such as a rash.

Pruritus is treated using moisturisers (emollients), anti-itch creams, topical steroid creams or ointments, and antihistamines. A new product, Alevicyn SG Antipruritic Spray Gel, is now available. Alevicyn SG’s formulation is designed to help patients suffering from the effects of various inflammatory dermatoses. It has proven itself successful in both clinical studies and in daily clinical use for the resolution of various skin dermatoses, including relief of pain and itch associated with those skin afflictions.

While it is often stated that pruritus is the most frequent symptom in dermatology, epidemiological data about the frequency and attributes of pruritus exist to a minor extent only. Moreover, there are surprisingly few studies about the prevalence or incidence of pruritus in particular diseases or patient populations.

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