Over-the-counter topical antipruritic agents are commonly recommended by office-based physicians: An analysis of US practice patterns

M. I. Duque, C. A. Vogel, A. B. Fleischer, Gil Yosipovitch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

7 Scopus citations

Abstract

BACKGROUND: Pruritus is one of the most common complaints among patients who visit physicians. Over-the-counter topical antipruritic medications are widely recommended by physicians and are self-administered by patients for the treatment of pruritus. However, there are few scientific controlled studies evaluating the effect of these drugs on pruritus. OBJECTIVES: To assess the role of physician-recommended over-the-counter medications for the treatment of pruritus. METHODS: Records were analyzed for office-based physician visits in which over-the-counter antipruritic topical medications were recommended in the National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey between the years 1995 and 2000. RESULTS: The largest proportion of over-the-counter antipruritic agent recommendations were during visits to dermatologists, accounting for 41% of all such recommendations. Other physicians that recommended such agents included family physicians and pediatricians, accounting respectively for 26% and 21% of the recommendations. The most commonly recommended over-the-counter medications included hydrocortisone preparations (72%) and diphenhydramine (15%). Over-the-counter medications were more frequently recommended in the pediatric age group. CONCLUSION: This study demonstrates that over-the-counter medications are frequently recommended for the treatment of pruritus.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)185-188
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Dermatological Treatment
Volume15
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 1 2004
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey
  • Over-the-counter
  • Pruritus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Dermatology

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