BACKGROUND: Pruritus has been reported to be a common symptom of many psoriatic patients, although the significance of this complaint has often been overlooked by dermatologists. OBJECTIVES: This study was aimed to explore the prevalence and various related clinical characteristics of pruritus associated with psoriasis in Korean patients. METHODS: Questionnaire data from 131 psoriatic patients were analyzed and psoriasis severity was determined by PASI score evaluation. RESULTS: Pruritus was a symptom of psoriasis in 83% of patients. It involved usually on the areas of active psoriatic lesion and appeared mainly at night. The severity and extent of psoriasis in pruritic patients were significantly (p<0.05) higher than those of non-pruritic patients. The presence and intensity of pruritus did not depend on sex, age, duration of disease, family history of psoriasis, smoking, and alcohol habits. Pruritus tended to be prolonged during the period of exacerbation. Sixty-five (59.6%) patients had an experience of Koebner's phenomenon due to scratching. Important daily factors that were found to exacerbate the itch were emotional stress, hot baths, sweating, and so on. The factors to improve the itch were emotional relief, cold baths, and hot baths. The patients who answered that pruritus significantly affects quality of life were 76.3%. CONCLUSION: Pruritus is a very common clinical feature of psoriasis, and its intensity correlates with the clinical severity of psoriasis. The attempt to relieve the symptoms of pruritus may improve the overall quality of life of patients with psoriasis.
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