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Pruritus, Psychological Distress Contribute to Sleep Disturbance

Findings show psychological distress had higher impact than pruritus among dermatology patients

By Dermsquared Editorial Team | October 20, 2021

For dermatology patients, intense pruritus and psychological distress contribute to sleep disturbance, according to a study published in the October issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology.

Max Spindler, M.D., from the Universitätsmedizin Berlin, and colleagues recruited 800 adult dermatology patients and recorded pruritus characteristics and sociodemographic and clinical parameters to examine the prevalence, burden, and factors associated with sleep disturbance.

The researchers found that the criteria for poor sleep were met by two-thirds of patients, which correlated with psychological distress, diminished health-related quality of life, and lost work productivity. A high risk for suffering pruritus-related sleep disturbance was seen for patients with average and maximum pruritus on the visual analog scale exceeding 5 and 6.5 points, respectively. Independent contributions to sleep disturbance were seen for overall pruritus intensity and its nocturnal exacerbation. Psychological distress had a higher impact on sleep disturbance than pruritus; psychological distress mediated about one-third of the relationship between pruritus intensity and sleep.

"Our results underscore the need for efficient therapies with antipruritic efficacy in patients with dermatoses and for improved awareness of secondary sleep disturbance, especially in patients with intense pruritus and those suffering psychological distress," the authors write.

Several authors disclosed financial ties to biopharmaceutical companies, including Leo Pharma, which partially funded the study.

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