Pruritus: An overview. What drives people to scratch an itch?

Michael Joseph Lavery, Michael Owen Kinney, Hideki Mochizuki, John Craig, Gil Yosipovitch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Pruritus is a common complaint associated with many conditions. It negatively impacts sleep, quality of life, and mortality. Itch is transmitted along both histaminergic and non-histaminergic pathways with a complex interplay between keratinocytes, immune cells and cutaneous neurons. Individuals who present with pruritus should undergo a thorough assessment, especially those over 65 years old, to exclude underlying malignancy. Treatment no longer consists of antihistamines alone. Physicians now have an array of therapies in their armamentarium, to help alleviate this distressing symptom.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)167-173
Number of pages7
JournalUlster Medical Journal
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Histaminergic
  • Immune cells
  • Keratinocytes
  • Malignancy
  • Neurobiology
  • Neuropathic
  • Non-histaminergic
  • Pruritus
  • Unmyelinated C-nerve fibers

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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