A comprehensive, tri-national, cross-sectional analysis of characteristics and impact of pruritus in psoriasis

M Hawro, E Sahin, M Steć, M Różewicka-Czabańska, E Raducha, L Garanyan, S Philipp, G Kokolakis, D Christou, P Kolkhir, D Pogorelov, K Weller, M Metz, R Sabat, R Maleszka, O Olisova, M Maurer, T Hawro*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


BACKGROUND: Pruritus is prevalent in psoriasis but still many features of pruritus, its response to therapy and its burden in psoriasis remain to be better characterized.

OBJECTIVE: To investigate characteristics and burden of pruritus in an international cohort of patients with psoriasis.

METHODS: This cross-sectional study included a total of 634 patients and 246 controls from Germany, Poland and Russia. Physicians examined and interviewed participants, recording clinical characteristics, such as severity, therapy and localization of psoriatic lesions. Participants filled out self-reported questionnaires including questions on pruritus severity and impact, characteristics, and response to therapy, and quality of life (QoL). Localization patterns of pruritus and skin lesions were visualized using body heat maps.

RESULTS: Most patients (82%) experienced pruritus throughout their disease, and 75% had current pruritus. The majority of patients (64%) perceived pure pruritus, and those who reported additional painful and/or burning sensations (36%) reported overall stronger pruritus. The scalp was the most frequently reported localization of pruritus, even in the absence of skin lesions. Body surface area (BSA) of pruritus was not linked to pruritus intensity, but to BSA of psoriatic lesions (rho = 0.278; P < 0.001). One third of patients (31%) reported impaired sex-life, and 4% had suicidal ideations due to pruritus. In up to one third of patients, psoriasis therapies had little or no effect on pruritus. The only therapeutic option offered to some of these patients were antihistamines, which appeared to be effective in most cases.

CONCLUSION: Pruritus is highly prevalent in psoriasis and is linked to a significant burden. Current psoriasis therapies are frequently insufficient to control pruritus. Managing psoriasis should include the assessment and control of itch. Efficient antipruritic therapies should be developed and be made available for patients with psoriasis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2064-2075
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology
Issue number11
Early online date28 Jun 2022
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2022


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