Evaluating Chronic Itch and Quality of Life

Drug Topics JournalDrug Topics December 2022
Volume 166
Issue 12

Several factors predict itch-specific quality of life in patients with chronic itch.

There are multiple factors predicting itch-specific quality of life in patients with chronic itch, according to a video oral abstract presentation at the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery (ASDS) Annual Meeting.1 

“Itch is a common dermatological symptom, and it can severely affect the quality of life of patients,” said Siri Choragudi, a research fellow at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine in Florida. 

Study investigators sought to evaluate the sociodemographic and itch-specific factors that predict the itch-specific quality of life in patients with chronic itch. In the cross-sectional study, investigators recruited a cohort of male and female patients 18 years or older who attended an itch clinic in Miami from 2016 to 2022 with reports of itching for at least 6 weeks.

Investigators used an interviewer-administered questionnaire to report sociodemographic and itch-related factors, which included the following:

  • Age
  • Sex
  • Ethnicity
  • Itch location (head and neck, upper limb, lower limb, trunk, groin, buttocks)
  • Worsening factors (stress, dry skin, sweat, contact with irritants or allergens, hot water, foods, salt water, acidic drinks)
  • Itch frequency
  • Itch intensity
  • Associated symptoms (pain, rash, sweating, hot and cold sensations)
  • Experiencing itch all day

Responses were recorded using an itch-specific quality of life questionnaire, ItchyQoL, then each response was graded using a 5-point Likert rating scale.

The study included 534 patients, with a mean age of 58 years; 59% were women and 62% were non-Hispanic White. Results of the study demonstrated a mean intensity of itch of 8, 45% of patients had itch all day and night, and 40% had pain in the area of itch. Additionally, dry skin was the most common worsening factor (52%). Itch was most frequent in the upper limb (80%), trunk (73%), and lower limb (68%). The mean total itch-specific quality of life was 72 (range, 21-105).

The investigators noted that being non-Hispanic White predicted good quality of life compared with other ethnicities.“ In summary, sociodemographic factors such as female sex; body site location such as groin, buttocks, and upper limb; and worsening factors such as pain and heat in the itch area had the highest predictive value of poor quality of life in [patients with] chronic itch,” Choragudisaid.


1. Yosipovitch G, Choragudi S. Factors predicting the itch-specific quality of life among patients suffering from chronic itch. Presented at: American Society for Dermatologic Surgery Annual Meeting; October 6-10, 2022; Denver, CO.

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