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Original Investigation |

Factors Mediating the Impact of Chronic Pruritus on Quality of Life

Christopher W. Carr, MD1; Emir Veledar, PhD1; Suephy C. Chen, MD, MS1,2
[+] Author Affiliations
1Department of Dermatology, Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia
2Atlanta Veterans Administration Medical Center, Atlanta, Georgia
JAMA Dermatol. 2014;150(6):613-620. doi:10.1001/jamadermatol.2013.7696.
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Importance  Chronic pruritus is a common problem with a deleterious effect on quality of life. The factors mediating the relationship between chronic pruritus and quality of life are poorly understood.

Objective  To determine the factors that mediate the impact of chronic pruritus on quality of life.

Design, Setting, and Participants  Cross-sectional study based on a nationwide telephone survey of US military veterans sampled from the Veterans Hospital Patient Database. Participants were veterans who agreed to participate and were found to have chronic pruritus.

Main Outcomes and Measures  Statistical significance of predictor variables (characteristics of patients and their chronic pruritus) in multivariate analysis using ItchyQoL scores as response variables.

Results  Of 6000 veterans telephoned, 1075 consented to participate; 405 of these had chronic pruritus. Factors that mediated the impact of chronic pruritus on quality of life were demographic characteristics (age [P = .007], race [P = .05], marital status [P = .04]), personality (extroversion [P = .03], neuroticism [P = .01]), pruritus characteristics (severity [P < .001], duration [P = .01], frequency [P < .001], location [P = .005]), and possible etiology (cutaneous vs systemic [P = .03]). Notable factors not found significant include sex (P = .98) and socioeconomic variables (education level [P > .99], employment status [P = .53], income [P = .62]).

Conclusions and Relevance  The multitude of factors that significantly influence the impact of chronic pruritus on quality of life demonstrates the complex nature of this relationship. A better appreciation of these factors will improve the clinical evaluation and treatment of chronic pruritus.

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