Pruritus pp 289-294 | Cite as

The Burden of Itch

  • Florence DalgardEmail author
  • Jörg Kupfer
  • Laurent Misery


The burden of disease refers to the impact of a health problem in terms of financial cost, morbidity, or other indicators. Itch is a major symptom from the skin and few studies have assessed the burden of pruritus. The impact of itch on the lives of individuals is reflected by studies on quality of life. Those studies are important because they show the burden from a patient perspective. Quality of life can be assessed in different ways both with generic and more specific instruments such as the new itch specific quality of life ItchyQoL, a promising instrument that will soon be available in many languages. Psychological factors such as personality also play a role for how burdensome itch is perceived in an individual. Recently the burden of skin symptoms has been highlighted by the demonstration of the association of mood disorders such as anxiety and depression with itch. Also in experimental settings induced negative emotions may increase the sensation of itch and insights in neuroimmunology has improved our understanding of stress and itch. Nevertheless further studies are needed to explore the relation between itch and stress factors. On the whole the burden of itch is still poorly recognized and future research exploring interactions between pruritus and psychological factors is highly needed.


Quality of life Stress Psychological Mental Burden 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag London 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Florence Dalgard
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Jörg Kupfer
    • 3
  • Laurent Misery
    • 4
  1. 1.National Center for Dual DiagnosisInnlandet Hospital TrustBrumundalNorway
  2. 2.Department of DermatologyUniversity Hospital of OsloOsloNorway
  3. 3.Institute of Medical PsychologyJustus Liebig UniversityGiessenGermany
  4. 4.Laboratory of Neurosciences of Brest, Department of DermatologyUniversity Hospital, University of BrestBrestFrance

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