Itch characteristics in Chinese patients with atopic dermatitis using a new questionnaire for the assessment of pruritus

Gil Yosipovitch, A. T.J. Goon, J. Wee, Y. H. Chan, I. Zucker, C. L. Goh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

138 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Background: Although pruritus is the predominant and commonest feature of atopic dermatitis, its clinical characteristics have not been explored. Objective: To characterize the clinical pattern and sensory and affective dimensions of the itch experience utilizing a comprehensive itch questionnaire. Methods: A structured itch questionnaire based on the McGill pain questionnaire was given to 102 Chinese patients with known atopic dermatitis. Results: There were 100 patients with atopic dermatitis who fully filled the questionnaire. In 87% of the patients pruritus appeared on a daily basis. It had a prolonged duration (mean duration 10.7 ± 7.3 years). It involved all body areas mostly in the lower limbs (83%), flexures (76%), upper limbs (71%) and neck (65%). Itch intensity during its peak was nearly twice higher than the itch of a mosquito bite. Itching was most frequent at night (65%), and 84% of patients reported of difficulty falling asleep. Daily life activities which increased the severity of itch were sweat in 96%, dryness in 71%, stress in 71% and physical effort in 73%. The major factors which were found to reduce the intensity of pruritus included: Bathing with cold water in 55% and cold ambient environment in 56%. Associated symptoms were heat sensation (51%), sweating (40%) and pain in the pruritic area (45%). The various anti-pruritic therapies had limited long-term effect. The pruritus was bothersome (52%) and a major distress to the patient. The effective score correlated to itch intensity during its peak (r = 0.4, P < 0.001). Conclusions: The study provided a detailed description of pruritus in atopic dermatitis with new data on affective and sensory dimensions and associated symptoms. The questionnaire was found to be a useful tool in characterization of itch.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)212-216
Number of pages5
JournalInternational Journal of Dermatology
Volume41
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2002
Externally publishedYes

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Atopic Dermatitis
Pruritus
Physical Exertion
Sweating
Sweat
Bites and Stings
Pain Measurement
Culicidae
Upper Extremity
Surveys and Questionnaires
Lower Extremity
Neck
Hot Temperature
Pain
Water

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Dermatology

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Itch characteristics in Chinese patients with atopic dermatitis using a new questionnaire for the assessment of pruritus. / Yosipovitch, Gil; Goon, A. T.J.; Wee, J.; Chan, Y. H.; Zucker, I.; Goh, C. L.

In: International Journal of Dermatology, Vol. 41, No. 4, 01.01.2002, p. 212-216.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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abstract = "Background: Although pruritus is the predominant and commonest feature of atopic dermatitis, its clinical characteristics have not been explored. Objective: To characterize the clinical pattern and sensory and affective dimensions of the itch experience utilizing a comprehensive itch questionnaire. Methods: A structured itch questionnaire based on the McGill pain questionnaire was given to 102 Chinese patients with known atopic dermatitis. Results: There were 100 patients with atopic dermatitis who fully filled the questionnaire. In 87{\%} of the patients pruritus appeared on a daily basis. It had a prolonged duration (mean duration 10.7 ± 7.3 years). It involved all body areas mostly in the lower limbs (83{\%}), flexures (76{\%}), upper limbs (71{\%}) and neck (65{\%}). Itch intensity during its peak was nearly twice higher than the itch of a mosquito bite. Itching was most frequent at night (65{\%}), and 84{\%} of patients reported of difficulty falling asleep. Daily life activities which increased the severity of itch were sweat in 96{\%}, dryness in 71{\%}, stress in 71{\%} and physical effort in 73{\%}. The major factors which were found to reduce the intensity of pruritus included: Bathing with cold water in 55{\%} and cold ambient environment in 56{\%}. Associated symptoms were heat sensation (51{\%}), sweating (40{\%}) and pain in the pruritic area (45{\%}). The various anti-pruritic therapies had limited long-term effect. The pruritus was bothersome (52{\%}) and a major distress to the patient. The effective score correlated to itch intensity during its peak (r = 0.4, P < 0.001). Conclusions: The study provided a detailed description of pruritus in atopic dermatitis with new data on affective and sensory dimensions and associated symptoms. The questionnaire was found to be a useful tool in characterization of itch.",
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AB - Background: Although pruritus is the predominant and commonest feature of atopic dermatitis, its clinical characteristics have not been explored. Objective: To characterize the clinical pattern and sensory and affective dimensions of the itch experience utilizing a comprehensive itch questionnaire. Methods: A structured itch questionnaire based on the McGill pain questionnaire was given to 102 Chinese patients with known atopic dermatitis. Results: There were 100 patients with atopic dermatitis who fully filled the questionnaire. In 87% of the patients pruritus appeared on a daily basis. It had a prolonged duration (mean duration 10.7 ± 7.3 years). It involved all body areas mostly in the lower limbs (83%), flexures (76%), upper limbs (71%) and neck (65%). Itch intensity during its peak was nearly twice higher than the itch of a mosquito bite. Itching was most frequent at night (65%), and 84% of patients reported of difficulty falling asleep. Daily life activities which increased the severity of itch were sweat in 96%, dryness in 71%, stress in 71% and physical effort in 73%. The major factors which were found to reduce the intensity of pruritus included: Bathing with cold water in 55% and cold ambient environment in 56%. Associated symptoms were heat sensation (51%), sweating (40%) and pain in the pruritic area (45%). The various anti-pruritic therapies had limited long-term effect. The pruritus was bothersome (52%) and a major distress to the patient. The effective score correlated to itch intensity during its peak (r = 0.4, P < 0.001). Conclusions: The study provided a detailed description of pruritus in atopic dermatitis with new data on affective and sensory dimensions and associated symptoms. The questionnaire was found to be a useful tool in characterization of itch.

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