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Pruritus - FAQ

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Severe and persistent painful itchiness is a symptom of great importance and can be more exasperating for the patient than the pain itself. An effective treatment for controlling pruritus doesnít exist, whilst the pain can usually be controlled with analgesics.

Dear Doctor, my 74 year-old mother has been suffering from diabetes type 1 (juvenile) for many years. Itís a form difficult to control and she often requires admission in order determine the right dose of insulin. About one and a half years ago my mother developed a persistent and debilitating itchiness. Tests so far havenít shown any particular allergies. I would like to know if such a syndrome is common in cases of diabetes (or that itís possible to link it with diabetes) and if any remedies exist. My mother is very anxious and the loss of my father a few years ago hasnít yet completely recovered. Best regards.

Dear Sir, yes, in diabetic patients it is possible that pruitus can develop. The reasons why are not completely understood. It has sometimes been linked to dryness of the skin. Unfavourable environmental conditions (cold and dry climate, winter period) can also accentuate it. The itchiness can be generalised or localised and doesnít seem directly related neither to the gravity of the diabetes, nor how well the patient maintains normal glycaemic levels. As far as treatment goes, it is advisable to use oily detergents and topical emollient creams. Best regards, Dr Lorenzo Peli Ė GISED.

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