Itch characteristics in atopic dermatitis: Results of a web-based questionnaire

A. Dawn, A. D.P. Papoiu, Y. H. Chan, S. R. Rapp, N. Rassette, G. Yosipovitch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

100 Scopus citations


Background: Itch significantly impairs the quality of life of patients with atopic dermatitis. However, only a few previous studies have examined the specific characteristics of itch in atopic dermatitis. Objective: To examine the frequency, intensity and perceived characteristics of pruritus among individuals with atopic dermatitis. Methods: Questionnaire reliability and validity were established in pilot testing. Survey participants completed the comprehensive, web-based 'Characteristics of itch' questionnaire. Participants provided anonymous demographic information and answered questions regarding itch intensity, frequency, timing, duration, location, associated symptoms and itch descriptors. Results: A total of 304 individuals with atopic dermatitis completed the web-based questionnaire. Itch occurred at least once daily in 91% of the individuals surveyed. Of the 32 itch descriptors rated by survey participants, 31 demonstrated a statistically significant positive correlation with the participants' ratings of itch intensity (P < 0.001). More than half the survey participants reported pain (59%) and heat sensation (53%) associated with itch. Conclusion: The questionnaire was found to be a useful tool in characterization of itch. Pain appears to be an important component of atopic dermatitis. The strong correlation between itch descriptors and itch intensity suggests that such descriptors serve as strong indicators of the symptomatology in atopic dermatitis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)642-644
Number of pages3
JournalBritish Journal of Dermatology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Atopic dermatitis
  • Pruritus
  • Web-based survey

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Dermatology


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