Various factors impact quality of life in patients with chronic pruritus

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1. Demographic characteristics, personality, etiology, and pruritus parameters (such as duration, frequency, severity, and location) significantly affected quality of life in patients with chronic pruritus. 

Evidence Rating Level: 2 (Good)          

Study Rundown: Chronic pruritus (CP) has a considerable prevalence and has been demonstrated to have a similar impact on quality of life (QoL) as chronic pain. Although various factors have been attributed to CP, such as mood, sleep, and concentration disturbances, there have been no direct measures of differences in parameters on QoL. Thus, these authors performed a cross-sectional study examining the effects of demographics, personality, and etiology on QoL in patients with CP. Results indicated that age, race, marital status, presence of disease, and personality significantly affected QoL in patients with CP. Additionally, other factors that mediated the impact of CP on QoL included the severity, frequency, duration, and location of pruritus. BMI, income, employment status, education level, sex, and region of residence were found to be non-significant variables. Strengths of this study include the regionally diverse population and the variety of factors tested in the questionnaire. However, due to its recruitment from the Veterans Hospital Patient Database, the results may be more suggestive for an older, Caucasian male population.

Click to read the study in JAMA Dermatology

Relevant Reading: Effect of the pruritus on the quality of life: a preliminary study

In-Depth [cross-sectional study]: A total of 6000 patients from the Veterans Hospital Patient Database were contacted to participate in this QoL survey. Of those, 405 participants who reported CP were administered the complete 300+ question survey. The ItchyQoL instrument was used to measure the degree that CP affected QoL and the NEO 5-factor inventory was used to determine personality. Analysis of relationships between variable and QoL were completed using both t testing and Χ2 testing. Results indicated that older age and married status were negatively correlated with decreasing QoL (P = 0.04 and 0.06 respectively) while African American race, presence of disease, extroversion, neuroticism, pruritus afflicting the upper extremities, and increased severity, frequency, and duration of CP were positively correlated with decreasing QoL. Factors such as sex, education, and socioeconomic status were not significant.

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