Relief of intractable pruritus in polycythemia vera with recombinant interferon alfa

C. Finelli, L. Gugliotta, B. Gamberi, N. Vianelli, G. Visani, S. Tura

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Following reports that recombinant interferon alfa (rIFNα), besides inducing clinical and hematologic remission in polycythemia vera (PV), can also resolve intractable pruritus, we used rIFNα to treat 13 PV patients complaining of severe pruritus refractory to conventional treatment (venesection and/or cytostatics). rIFNα was administered intramuscularly three times a week at a dosage of 3.0 x 106 U. Eight patients (61.5%) reported a ≥50% reduction of pruritus, which occurred within 2-8 weeks from the start of rIFNα treatment, leading to a substantial improvement in their quality of life. Three patients had to stop rIFNα within the first month of therapy because of unacceptable side effects. Thus rIFNα seems to be capable of providing considerable relief of otherwise intractable pruritus in a good proportion of PV patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)316-318
Number of pages3
JournalAmerican Journal of Hematology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1993


  • polycythemia vera (PV)
  • pruritus
  • recombinant interferon alfa (rIFNα)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hematology

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