Antipruritic Action of Thalidomide
B. Martina Daly
The effect of thalidomide on itch was studied in 11 patients with chronic pruritus from psoriasis, eczema, nodular prurigo, senile pruritus and primary biliary cirrhosis. Itch, assessed subjectively by the patients on a 10 cm line and measured objectively as nocturnal scratch movement, was decreased by thalidomide 200 mg on the 2 nights it was given. There was no improvement in the underlying disorders and it is concluded that thalidomide is a primary antipruritic agent. The patients all became drowsy and it seems likely that, as with most other antipruritic agents, the antipruritic action of thalidomide results from a central depressant effect. The primary antipruritic effect of thalidomide should now be assessed therapeutically.