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Simple Psoriasis Pruritus Self-Assessment Tool Validated

Last Updated: September 30, 2010.

A simple six-point Likert scale is a valid and reliable tool for self-assessment of pruritus by patients with moderate to severe plaque psoriasis, according to research published in the October issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology.

THURSDAY, Sept. 30 (HealthDay News) -- A simple six-point Likert scale is a valid and reliable tool for self-assessment of pruritus by patients with moderate to severe plaque psoriasis, according to research published in the October issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology.

Alice Gottlieb, M.D., of the Tufts Medical Center in Boston, and colleagues used data from subjects with moderate to severe plaque psoriasis who participated in three randomized placebo-controlled phase III clinical trials of the tumor necrosis factor blocker etanercept. The subjects used the six-point Likert scale to assess pruritus (zero to five for no pruritus to severe pruritus, respectively). The tool was validated in the cohort from one clinical trial, and then evaluated using data from the two other trials. Results were correlated with the Psoriasis Area and Severity Index (PASI).

The researchers found the six-point pruritus assessment tool to be valid with good test-retest reliability and responsiveness. Furthermore, the improvements in pruritus scores after eight weeks of etanercept therapy correlated with improvements in PASI, and the tool was able to discriminate between patients on and off treatment.

"The pruritus assessment tool described here could be a simple and effective tool to assess pruritus in community clinics, where time available for individual consultation is limited. Further studies to validate this instrument for use in individual patients are warranted," the authors write.

The study was funded by Immunex Corp., a wholly owned subsidiary of Amgen Inc., and by Wyeth Pharmaceuticals (acquired by Pfizer). Three authors are currently employed by Amgen, and all authors disclosed financial ties to pharmaceutical companies.

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