SEARCH

SEARCH BY CITATION

Summary

Pruritus is an unpleasant sensation of the skin, which triggers a desire to scratch or rub. The chronic form (≥6 weeks’ duration) often occurs as a side effect of many diseases and is usually accompanied by a high loss in quality of life for patients, especially in cases in which the symptom is chronic without adequate treatment options. In recent years, the situation improved continuously, guidelines for chronic pruritus have been defined and standard medications have been proposed. For many reasons, there are still patients who are unable to obtain relief. New therapeutic approaches are therefore urgently needed. Blocking the neuropeptide substance P is a promising strategy; substance P mediates clinically relevant pro-inflammatory effects by binding to the neurokinin 1 receptor (NK-1R). This led us to hypothesize that NK-1R antagonists are promising therapeutic options for chronic pruritus. Several international case series have meanwhile proven the antipruritic effect of the NK-1R antagonist aprepitant for various forms of chronic pruritus. Initiation of clinical trials with new NK-1R-antagonists as a new therapeutic option continues this trend.