BACKGROUND: Psoriasis-related pruritus (PRP) in patients under systemic treatment is challenging. The risk to switch anti-psoriatic drugs and to lose response to previous therapy is high, thus dermatologists prefer to add an anti-pruritic agent.
OBJECTIVES: To evaluate the effect of anti-histamines and aprepitant in treating PPR of psoriatic patients undergoing systemic anti-psoriatic therapies.
METHODS: A pilot observational open-label study was performed on responsive psoriatic patients with PPR under treatment. Initial therapy included oral rupatadine (10 mg/day for 30 days). In case of the Epworth Sleepiness Scale (ESS) was above 14, patients were switched to aprepitant (80 mg/day for 7 days), otherwise, rupatadine dosage was increased (20 mg/day for 7 days). Clinical evaluation was performed at the baseline (T0) and after 7 days (T7).
RESULTS: We enrolled 40 patients with PPR, 20 in each group. Age, gender, Psoriatic arthritis (PsA) and the itch - VAS, were matched. At T7, aprepitant displayed higher improvements than rupatadine (itch - VAS = 4 [3-5] vs 8.5 [8-9], p < .01, DLQI = 14 [13-16] vs. 18 [16-21], p < .01 and ESS = 5 [4-7] vs 15 [14-16], p < .01). Doubling the rupatadine dosage from 10 mg to 20 mg/day only slightly improve itch (itch - VAS = 9 [8-10] vs 9 [8-9], p = .03), conversely no modifications in the quality of life (DLQI = 18 [17-20] vs 18 [17-21], p = .73) and increased sleepiness (ESS = 10 [9-11] vs 15 [14-16], p < .01).
CONCLUSIONS: Aprepitant may be a valid alternative in PPR patients with ESS >14 under antihistamines.