What are the treatment options for hematologic pruritus?

Updated: Mar 03, 2020
  • Author: David F Butler, MD; Chief Editor: William D James, MD  more...
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Answer

Iron deficiency responds to treatment with iron, which should be continued until ferritin levels are normalized. Correction of iron deficiency in persons with polycythemia vera may decrease the pruritus but worsen the polycythemia vera.

Patients with pruritus due to polycythemia vera may benefit from aspirin, which is considered the first-line therapy. Cimetidine, danazol, cholestyramine, UV-B light therapy, and psoralen with UV-A therapy have all been shown to help. [55, 56]

Interferon-alfa may provide relief, but its adverse effects may decrease compliance. [57]

Treatment with paroxetine at 20 mg/d has been shown to be effective, but further clinical trials are needed.

One patient with severe pruritus due to Hodgkin disease responded dramatically to thalidomide at 200 mg by mouth at night. [58]


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