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Chronic Pruritus Adversely Impacts Quality of Life

Last Updated: June 22, 2011.

Chronic pruritus may affect quality of life and, after adjusting for confounding variables, is found to have a similar impact to chronic pain, according to a study published online June 16 in the Archives of Dermatology.

WEDNESDAY, June 22 (HealthDay News) -- Chronic pruritus may affect quality of life (QoL) and, after adjusting for confounding variables, is found to have a similar impact to chronic pain, according to a study published online June 16 in the Archives of Dermatology.

Seema P. Kini, M.D., from the Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta, and colleagues compared the impact of chronic pruritus and chronic pain on QoL using health utility scores. A cohort of 73 patients with chronic pruritus and 138 patients with chronic pain were included in the study. Participants were aged 18 years or older and had been experiencing either chronic pain or pruritus for more than six weeks. The impact of symptom type on the mean utility score, representing QoL, was assessed.

The investigators found that the mean utility score was significantly higher for participants with chronic pruritus compared to those with chronic pain (0.87 versus 0.77). Symptom severity and single marital status, but not symptom type, were found to be significant predictors of the mean symptom utility score, after adjusting for symptom severity, duration, and demographic factors.

"Chronic pruritus has a substantial impact on QoL, one that may be comparable to that of pain. The severity of symptoms and the use of support networks are the main factors that determine the degree to which patients are affected by their symptoms," the authors write.

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