The Itch

Cholestatic Pruritus: What is it?

Cholestatic pruritus (itching) is one of the main symptom of cholestasis in many patients. Pruritus is often out of proportion to the level of jaundice (yellow eyes or skin), which is often low-grade and can wax and wane.

Pruritus may be hard to identify in young babies because they have difficulty scratching. Instead, they may be irritable and sleep poorly. Scratching often starts as digging at the ears and eyes, which are the first areas to show bleeding and scarring.

There is a cycle of pruritus – there is a sense of itching, one scratches an area which often yields relief followed by intensification of the itching in that area leading to a focus of scratching in a few specific areas. Breaking the cycle behaviorally, which is difficult, may be a key approach. The itching may be very disabling and often does not respond consistently to medications.

The scratching interferes with normal activities and sleep and may therefore hinder learning and schoolwork. Because it interferes with a child’s sleep it may also adversely impact sleep in the family, which can have profound effects on an entire family.

Quotes from patients who experience pruritus (itch) related to PFIC

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Diagnosis and Treatment                Types of PFIC              PFIC