C.H.L. Lim , B.S. Daniel , D.F. Murrell
Introduction: Itch is a signiﬁ cant symptom that affects a
sizeable proportion of the population. An accurate tool to
quantify itch is crucial for healthcare professionals to better
understand itch severity and the impact of itch on an individual’s
quality-of-life. This will in-turn facilitate better
management of patients with itch.
Method: A review of the existing literature regarding attempts
to quantify or characterise itch was undertaken. Research
study methodologies were also scrutinised to better understand
how these tools were developed. In addition, the different
types of scales used to rate symptoms were evaluated.
Results: A total of seven relevant studies were identiﬁ ed.
Out of these, only two studies involved attempts to quantify
itch. However, none of these studies involving itch have
been developed based on the experiences of patients with
itch. Rather, these tools have been developed either from
existing symptom scales, such as the Total Neuropathy
Score and the McGill Pain Questionnaire, or adapted from
other studies identiﬁ ed in this review.
Conclusions: By adapting measures of itch from these
measures, there is the underlying assumption that itch is
similar to these symptoms. However, the sensation of itch
is unique and very distinct from other symptoms such as
pain. As such, it is important to develop a measure of itch
based on the experience of patients suffering from pruritus.
Filling this void, especially for conditions associated with a
signiﬁ cant degree of itching, is vital in ensuring the optimal
monitoring and management of itch in these patients.