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Antipruritics, also known as anti-itch drugs, are medications that inhibit the itching (Latin: pruritus) 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[edit]

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 these classes:

Disputed and questionable antipruritics[edit]

Home remedies[edit]

  • Cooling with ice or cold water (usually stops the itch for as long as the ice or cold water is applied)[citation needed]
  • Slightly painful stimulation such as rubbing, slapping, scratching, or heating based on a spinal antagonism between pain- and itch-processing neurons[citation needed]
  • Pine tree gum applied to the affected areas for short periods of time can help in drawing out the oils and drying the skin.
  • Frequent washing of the affected areas in hot water with a drying soap removes oils that come to the surface as the blisters form and provides temporary relief from itching.
  • Applying emollients to the skin such as baby oil or petroleum jelly after showering


  1. ^ Hercogová J (2005). "Topical anti-itch therapy". Dermatologic therapy. 18 (4): 341–3. doi:10.1111/j.1529-8019.2005.00033.x. PMID 16297007. 
  2. ^ Inui, Shigeki (2015). "Nalfurafine hydrochloride to treat pruritus: a review". Clinical, Cosmetic and Investigational Dermatology: 249. doi:10.2147/CCID.S55942. ISSN 1178-7015. 
  3. ^ 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
  4. ^ 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
  5. ^ J. D. Guin, R. Reynolds. Jewelweed treatment of poison ivy dermatitis. Contact Dermatitis 6(4):287-8 1980 PMID 6447037
  6. ^ Zink, B. J.; Otten, E.J.; Rosenthal, M.; Singal, B (1991). "The Effect Of Jewel Weed In Preventing Poison Ivy Dermatitis". Journal of Wilderness Medicine. 2 (3): 178–182. doi:10.1580/0953-9859-2.3.178. Retrieved 2008-01-16. 
  7. ^ Lee CS, Koo J (2005). "Psychopharmacologic therapies in dermatology: an update". Dermatologic clinics. 23 (4): 735–44. doi:10.1016/j.det.2005.05.015. PMID 16112451. 
  8. ^ "American Topics. An Outdated Notion, That Calamine Lotion". Archived from the original on 19 June 2007. Retrieved 2007-07-19. 
  9. ^ 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
  10. ^ a b Paul Tawrell, Wilderness Camping and Hiking(Falcon Distribution, 2008), 212.

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