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Racial Disparities in Itch

Next Steps in Derm, in partnership with ODAC Dermatology, Aesthetic & Surgical Conference, interviewed Dr. Shawn Kwatra, associate professor of dermatology at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Dr. Kwatra shares what dermatology clinicians need to know about racial disparities in itch. Find out how disease prevalence and presentation play a role in these disparities. Watch as Dr. Kwatra shares why depigmentation should impact your treatment selection. Plus learn about the impact of social determinants of health.

Further Reading

If you want to read more about treating itch, check out the following articles published in the Journal of Drugs in Dermatology:

Dupilumab Treatment for Prurigo Nodularis and Pruritis


Prurigo nodularis (PN) is a disease in which chronic scratching and picking of the skin due to intense pruritis results in papulonodules, notably in areas that are accessible to the patient. The pathophysiology is hypothesized to be mediated by a Th2 helper cell response, similar to that seen in atopic dermatitis, therefore, treatment of PN with dupilumab would be expected to elicit a therapeutic response. We demonstrated that treatment of PN with dupilumab significantly decreased pruritis and the size and number of new lesions after 2 months of treatment.

Anti-Pruritic Efficacy of Itch Relief Lotion and Cream in Patients With Atopic History: Comparison With Hydrocortisone Cream


Objective: To evaluate the speed of onset and duration of relief of two ceramide-containing formulations with 1% pramoxine hydroxide (CeraVe™) Itch Relief Lotion and Cream, Valeant Pharmaceuticals North America LLC, Irvine, CA) in patients with atopic history, including those with active flare and the comparative efficacy of CeraVe Itch Relief Cream to hydrocortisone 1% cream and night-time itch relief with continued use. 

Methods: Two double-blind, split-body, randomized studies in 66 male and female subjects, ages 11+ years, with history of atopic dermatitis (AD). Itch severity was assessed on a 10-point scale (where 0=none and 7-9=severe). Study one: single applications of ceramide-containing lotion or cream incorporating 1% pramoxine hydrochloride applied to opposite sides of the body. Study two (part 1): single application of ceramide-containing cream or hydrocortisone 1% cream. Study two (part 2): ceramide-containing pramoxine cream applied up to 4 times in a 24-hour period, over the course of 6 days. Itch relief assessed at baseline, 2, and 5 minutes, 1 (2 in study two), 4, and 8 hours post-application. Efficacy and aesthetic attributes were assessed at the same timepoints. Clinical evaluation of performance and mildness of the ceramide-containing 1% pramoxine hydrochloride cream at day 6 (study two, part 2). 

Results: Study one: Relief of itching was rapid and long-lasting with significant reductions in severity after 2 minutes, and continued improvement over the 8 hour test period (P less than .001 versus baseline at all timepoints). Mean itch severity scores reduced progressively from 6 (moderate) at baseline to 1-2 (mild) after 8 hours, with all patients experiencing relief from itching. Rapid and long-lasting relief to dry, itchy, irritated skin was confirmed through patient self-assessment. Both lotion and cream formulations were non-greasy, absorbed quickly and easily, and were non-irritating. Study two: Ceramide-containing cream incorporating 1% pramoxine hydrochloride provided comparable improvement in itch relief (24.6% reduction in mean itch severity 2 minutes post-application, and 58.0% reduction 8 hours post-application) compared to hydrocortisone cream 1% (18.5% reduction and 59.7% reduction, respectively). Daily use of the ceramide-containing 1% pramoxine cream over 6-days provided all-night relief (87.5% agreement), and perception of skin looking and feeling healthier with each use (71.9% and 81.3% agreement, respectively). Limitations: Results of study one and subsequent comparative study with hydrocortisone 1% cream are based on a single application. There were no placebo controls. 

Conclusions: Ceramide-containing lotion or cream containing 1% pramoxine provides both rapid and long-lasting relief of itching following a single application in atopic patients with or without active flare. Both formulations were well tolerated with aesthetic appeal. Comparable itch relief to hydrocortisone 1% cream was seen with the ceramide-containing cream over an 8-hour period following a single application. Further ceramide-containing 1% pramoxine hydrochloride cream was well tolerated with continued use over 6 days, delivering comfort and all-night relief for patients with atopic history suffering from reoccurrant itching.

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