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Summary

Background

Brachioradial pruritus (BRP) is a fascinating condition that is seen increasingly often, but any additional data from retrospective observational studies can still enhance our understanding.

Objectives

To review our experience at the Mayo Clinic with patients presenting with BRP.

Methods

We retrospectively reviewed the clinical records of patients diagnosed with BRP between 1999 and 2011.

Results

In total, 111 patients (80 female, 72%) had been diagnosed with BRP. Their mean age was 59 years, range 12–84 years. Symptoms were bilateral in 84 (75·7%). Fifty-four patients (48·6%) reported prolonged exposure to the sun, and 16 had a history of neck concerns. Forty-five (40·5%) had undergone imaging studies of the neck; of these, eight had foraminal stenosis, six had protrusion of the intervertebral disk and six had stenosis of the spinal canal; 10 had more than one cervical abnormality. Thirty-one patients had been referred to neurology; eight of these had BRP attributed to a radiculopathy or peripheral neuropathy. Several topical and oral medications were prescribed. Seventy-five patients had a follow-up; of these, nine (12%) had complete resolution, 13 (17%) had improvement, four (5%) showed no change and 49 (65%) had no mention of BRP.

Conclusions

Brachioradial pruritus presented most commonly in female patients and was observed over a wide age range. Although a third of patients with imaging studies had cervical abnormalities, the significance of these findings is unclear, as no structural causes of BRP were found in most cases. Some treatments were more successful than others.