Antipruritics, also known as anti-itch drugs, are medications that inhibit the itching (Latin: pruritus) that is often associated with sunburns, allergic reactions, eczema, psoriasis, chickenpox, fungal infections, insect bites and stings like those from mosquitoes, fleas, and mites, and contact dermatitis and urticaria caused by plants such as poison ivy (urushiol-induced contact dermatitis) or stinging nettle.

Common antipruritics

Topical antipruritics in the form of creams and sprays are often available over-the-counter. Oral anti-itch drugs also exist and are usually prescription drugs. The active ingredients usually belong to the following classes:

* Antihistamines such as diphenhydramine (Benadryl)
* Corticosteroids such as hydrocortisone topical cream
* Local anesthetics such as benzocaine topical cream (Lanacaine)
* Counterirritants, such as mint oil, menthol, or camphorcite journal |author=Hercogová J |title=Topical anti-itch therapy |journal=Dermatologic therapy |volume=18 |issue=4 |pages=341–3 |year=2005 |pmid=16297007 |doi=10.1111/j.1529-8019.2005.00033.x |doi_brokendate=2008-06-22]
* Calamine lotion, containing zinc oxide and iron(III) oxide, is a traditional remedy for mild itching, such as that typically associated with chicken pox - although the USA's Food and Drug Administration has asserted that it has little if any effect. [cite web |url= |title=American Topics. An Outdated Notion, That Calamine Lotion |accessdate=2007-07-19 |format= |work=] [Appel, L.M. Ohmart and R.F. Sterner, "Zinc oxide: A new, pink, refractive microform crystal". AMA Arch Dermatol 73 (1956), pp. 316–324. PMID 13301048]

Disputed and questionable antipruritics

* Burow's solution (aluminium acetate)
* Olive oil
* Jewelweed, has been shown to be devoid of any anti-itch activity in several controlled studies [D. Long, N. H. Ballentine, J. G. Marks. "Treatment of poison ivy/oak allergic contact dermatitis with an extract of jewelweed." Am. J. Contact. Dermat. 8(3):150-3 1997 PMID 9249283] [M. R. Gibson, F. T. Maher. "Activity of jewelweed and its enzymes in the treatment of Rhus dermatitis." J. Am. Pharm. Assoc. Am. Pharm. Assoc. 39(5):294-6 1950 PMID 15421925] [J. D. Guin, R. Reynolds. "Jewelweed treatment of poison ivy dermatitis." Contact Dermatitis 6(4):287-8 1980 PMID 6447037] [cite journal | last=Zink | first=B. J. | coauthors=Otten, E.J.; Rosenthal, M.; Singal, B | title=The Effect Of Jewel Weed In Preventing Poison Ivy Dermatitis | journal=Journal of Wilderness Medicine | volume=2 | issue=3 | pages=178–182 | id= | month= | year=1991 | url= [ | accessdate=2008-01-16]
* SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) comprise a class of medicines commonly used for depression, and are also said to be effective in controlling pruritus in a small number of refractory cases.cite journal | author=Lee CS, Koo J | title=Psychopharmacologic therapies in dermatology: an update | journal=Dermatologic clinics | volume=23 | issue=4 | pages=735–44 | year=2005 | pmid=16112451 | doi=10.1016/j.det.2005.05.015]

Home remedies

* Cooling with ice or cold water (usually stops the itch for as long as the ice or cold water is applied)Fact|date=January 2008
* Heating
* Slightly painful stimulation like rubbing, slapping or scratching, based on a spinal antagonism between pain- and itch-processing neuronsFact|date=January 2008


External links

* [ Frontiers in pruritus research: scratching the brain for more effective itch therapy] "J. Clin. Invest." 116:1174-1185 (2006). DOI 10.1172/JCI28553

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  • antipruritic — ANTIPRURÍTIC, Ă adj., s. n. (medicament) împotriva pruritului. (< engl. antipruritic) Trimis de raduborza, 15.09.2007. Sursa: MDN …   Dicționar Român

  • antipruritic — 1. Preventing or relieving itching. 2. An agent that relieves itching. * * * an·ti·pru·rit·ic prü rit ik adj tending to check or relieve itching <antipruritic effects> antipruritic n an antipruritic agent * * * n. an agent that relieves… …   Medical dictionary

  • antipruritic — /an tee proo rit ik, an tuy /, Med., Pharm. adj. 1. relieving or preventing itching. n. 2. an antipruritic agent. [1875 80; ANTI + PRURITIC] * * * …   Universalium

  • antipruritic — [ˌantɪprʊ rɪtɪk] adjective used to relieve itching. noun an antipruritic drug. Origin C19: from anti + pruritic (see pruritus) …   English new terms dictionary

  • antipruritic — adj. & n. adj. relieving itching. n. an antipruritic drug or agent. Etymology: ANTI + PRURITUS + IC …   Useful english dictionary

  • antipruritic — noun a medical agent that stops itching …   Wiktionary

  • antipruritic — adj. relieves itching, prevents itching …   English contemporary dictionary

  • antipruritic — an·ti·pru·rit·ic …   English syllables

  • antipruritic — n. an agent that relieves itching (pruritus). Examples are doxepin and crotamiton, applied in creams or lotions, and some antihistamine drugs (e.g. alimemazine), used if the itching is due to an allergy …   The new mediacal dictionary

  • antipruritic — an ti•pru•rit′ic adj. n …   From formal English to slang

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