Efficacy of oral naltrexone on pruritus in atopic eczema: a double-blind, placebo-controlled study
Aim The intent of our study was to determine the efficacy of oral naltrexone, an opiod antagonist, in the treatment of pruritus in patients with chronic eczema. Methods This double-blind, placebo-controlled study recruited 38 patients with eczema complaining from pruritus. Pruritus scores were evaluated. Patients were given placebo (n = 20) or naltrexone 50 mg (n = 18) for 2 weeks period. During the study, pruritus scores based on visual analogue scale system (VAS) were assessed three times: at the start of study, after 1 week, and after 2 weeks. Results In both groups, decreased VAS scores were observed, but naltrexone showed to be significantly more effective than placebo in decreasing VAS score after 1 week (P < 0.005) and 2 weeks (P < 0.001). Conclusion Naltrexone is more effective than placebo in the treatment of pruritus in patient with eczema. Naltrexone might be considered as an adjunct treatment in the treatment of pruritus. However, further studies in this aspect are highly fostered.