What is the prevalence of pruritus in primary biliary cholangitis (PBC)?

Updated: Nov 08, 2017
  • Author: Nikolaos T Pyrsopoulos, MD, PhD, MBA, FACP, AGAF; Chief Editor: BS Anand, MD  more...
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According to estimates, 10% of patients experience severe pruritus.

The cause of this symptom is not known, but pruritus appears unrelated to the deposition of bile acids in the skin.

Increased opioidergic tone (ie, increased production of endogenous opioid peptides, and the upregulation of endogenous opioid receptors) appears to be the major mechanism. The height of the bilirubin level is proportionally related to the production of these peptides.

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