Are we still scratching the surface? A case of intractable pruritus following systemic opioid analgesia

Dana Tarcatu, MD, Cristina Tamasdan, MD, Natalie Moryl, MD, Eugenie Obbens, MD, PhD


This article describes a case of severe opioid-induced pruritus following systemic morphine administration. Symptoms did not resolve after administration of antihistamines or rotation to fentanyl or hydromorphone, but oral oxycodone and small-dose intravenous naloxone did alleviate the patient’s itching. The pathogenesis of opioidinduced pruritus and the rationale for opioid rotation are briefly discussed. Current and possible future therapeutic options are mentioned.


pruritus, systemic opioids, opioid rotation

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