Pruritus and psyche are intricately and reciprocally related, with psychophysiological evidence and psychopathological explanations helping us to understand their complex association. Their interaction may be conceptualized and classified into 3 groups: pruritic diseases with psychiatric sequelae, pruritic diseases aggravated by psychosocial factors, and psychiatric disorders causing pruritus. Management of chronic pruritus is directed at treating the underlying causes and adopting a multidisciplinary approach to address the dermatologic, somatosensory, cognitive, and emotional aspects. Pharmcotherapeutic agents that are useful for chronic pruritus with comorbid depression and/or anxiety comprise selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, mirtazapine, tricyclic antidepressants (amitriptyline and doxepin), and anticonvulsants (gabapentin, pregabalin); the role of neurokinin receptor-1 antagonists awaits verification. Antipsychotics are required for treating itch and formication associated with schizophrenia and delusion of parasitosis (including Morgellons disease).
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