Pruritus Characteristics in Severe Atopic Dermatitis in Adult Patients

Part of the Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology book series (AEMB, volume 1289)


Atopic dermatitis (AD) is classified as a most common inflammatory skin disease. The condition is characterized by recurrent eczematous lesions and intense pruritus or itch, a hallmark of AD. The aim of this study was to identify the provoking factors of itch in severe AD adult patients. There were 34 adult patients suffering from AD of the median age of 40 years enrolled into the study and a control group that consisted of 20 healthy subjects. The severity of AD was assessed with the SCORing Atopic Dermatitis (SCORAD) index, pruritus intensity was assessed on a visual analog scale (VAS), and itch aggravating factors were assessed with a questionnaire. Specific IgE (sIgE) antibodies and interleukin IL-33 were measured in venous blood. We found that all the patients with severe AD had intensive itch (VAS: 9–10 points) during the whole day and 30 (88.2%) patients had it during nighttime. The most significant factors aggravating itch were the following: dry skin (27 patients; 79.4%), exposure to dust mite (22 patients; 64.7%,), and emotional distress (17 patients; 50%). Moreover, there was a positive correlation between the intensity of itch and the level of sIgE antibodies to dust mite (p < 0.001). The content of IL-33 was significantly higher in AD patients with severe skin lesions. This exploratory study shows that skin dryness, dust exposure, and distress play an essential role in the exacerbation of AD in the adult population.


Atopic dermatitis Emotional distress IgE antibody Inflammation Itching Pruritus Skin 


Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest in relation to this chapter.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards. The study was approved by the Jagiellonian University Ethics Committee.

Informed Consent

Written informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of DermatologyJagiellonian University Medical CollegeCracowPoland
  2. 2.Department of Epidemiology and Population Studies, Institute of Public Health, Faculty of Health SciencesJagiellonian University Medical CollegeCracowPoland
  3. 3.Department of PneumologyInstitute of Tuberculosis and Lung Disorders, Field Unit in RabkaRabkaPoland
  4. 4.Department of Physiotherapy, Faculty of Health SciencesJagiellonian University Medical CollegeCracowPoland
  5. 5.Institute of Health SciencesOpole Medical SchoolOpolePoland

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