Expand Document  |  Expand Chapter  |  Full TOC  |  Printable HTML version
WHO Model Prescribing Information: Drugs Used in Skin Diseases
(1997; 132 pages) [French] [Spanish] View the PDF document
Table of Contents
View the documentPreface
View the documentIntroduction
Open this folder and view contentsParasitic infections
Open this folder and view contentsInsect and arachnid bites and stings
Open this folder and view contentsSuperficial fungal infections
Open this folder and view contentsSubcutaneous fungal infections
Open this folder and view contentsBacterial infections
Open this folder and view contentsViral infections
Open this folder and view contentsEczematous diseases
Open this folder and view contentsScaling diseases
Open this folder and view contentsPapulosquamous diseases
View the documentCutaneous reactions to drugs
Open this folder and view contentsPigmentary disorders
Open this folder and view contentsPremalignant lesions and malignant tumours
Open this folder and view contentsPhotodermatoses
Open this folder and view contentsBullous dermatoses
View the documentAlopecia areata
View the documentUrticaria
Open this folder and view contentsConditions common in children
View the documentAcne vulgaris
View the documentPruritus
View the documentTropical ulcers
Open this folder and view contentsAntimicrobial drugs
Open this folder and view contentsAntifugal drugs
Open this folder and view contentsAntiseptic agents
Open this folder and view contentsKeratoplastic and keratolytic agents
Open this folder and view contentsScabicides and pediculicides
Open this folder and view contentsAnti-inflammatory and antipruritic drugs1
Open this folder and view contentsAntiallergics and drugs used in anaphylaxis
Open this folder and view contentsUltraviolet radiation-blocking agents (sunscreens)
Open this folder and view contentsMiscellaneous drugs
Open this folder and view contentsAnnex
View the documentSelected WHO Publications of Related Interest
View the documentBack cover
 

Pruritus

Pruritus or itching is a persistent and distressing symptom of many skin disorders, but it also occurs in apparently healthy people. One of the most common causes in elderly patients is dry skin. Itching can be a major problem wherever humidity is low. In some instances, it may result from the release of histamine from dermal mast cells, in which case antihistamines are specifically indicated. However, this is uncommon, and it is important to rule out common causes such as scabies, lice and fleas.

Non-specific pruritus, unaccompanied by other evidence of skin disease, is commonly diffuse and often aggravated by restrictive clothing. In temperate climates, it is often exacerbated by warm weather. Elderly patients in particular should be examined to exclude specific skin conditions and pruritus associated with obstructive liver disease, severe diabetes, advanced uraemia or lymphoproliferative disorders. Itching is also a cutaneous symptom of AIDS.

Management

If a cause can be found, this should be corrected. Emollients such as aqueous creams or frequent applications of calamine lotion often provide relief. Hydrocortisone applied sparingly and intermittently in low concentrations sometimes provides additional relief when the sensation remains troublesome. Systemic antihistamines may be helpful in severe cases, but their activity is probably due to their sedating effect.

 

to previous section
to next section
 
 
The WHO Essential Medicines and Health Products Information Portal was designed and is maintained by Human Info NGO. Last updated: December 1, 2019