Severity of Scratching Effective Assessment for Pruritus-Related AD


Severity of scratching is a valid and objective measure of disease severity and responsiveness to treatment for atopic dermatitis (AD)-related pruritus, according to a recent poster study presented at the 2018 American Academy of Dermatology Annual Meeting.

The prospective, outpatient study included 261 adults with AD (mean age 39.4 years; 59.8% female). Using the 5-dimensions of itch (5-D) scale, Dermatology Life Quality Index (DLQI), Numeric Rating Scale (NRS-itch) for the past 24 hours and 3 days, patient-reported AD severity, Verbal Rating Scale (VRS)-itch over the past 2 weeks, and the Patient Oriented Eczema Measure (POEM), the researchers evaluated patients at up to 20 visits. The responsiveness and validity of severity of scratching as a metric was assessed using Kendal’s Tau correlation coefficients, Wilcoxon rank sum test, and Fisher’s exact test.
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Overall, scratch severity scores significantly correlated with all measure metrics, but correlated best with patient-reported global AD severity and NRS-itch for the past 24 hours and 3 days.

In addition, patients who experienced a 1 point or more improvement on scratch severity had significantly lower NRS-itch in the past 3 days and POEM scores. Likewise, the severity of scratching showed responsiveness overtime.

“[Severity of scratching] may be a useful endpoint in clinical trials and practice across the gamut of pruritic disorders,” the researchers concluded.

—Melissa Weiss


Udkoff J, Silverberg J. Validation of scratching severity as an objective assessment for itch. Presented at: American Academy of Dermatology Annual Meeting; February 16-20, 2018; San Diego, CA.