Note: Some citations in the text of this section are followed by a level of evidence. The PDQ Editorial Boards use a formal ranking system to help the reader judge the strength of evidence linked to the reported results of a therapeutic strategy. (Refer to the PDQ summary on Levels of Evidence for more information.)
Management of pruritus associated with neoplastic disease is directed toward effective management of the underlying malignancy, elimination of actual or potential alterations in skin integrity, and promotion of comfort. Given the subjective nature of itching, the extent to which any therapy is effective may be modified by psychological factors. Multiple approaches and combined efforts may be needed to promote comfort and prevent alterations in the integrity of the skin.
Antineoplastons are an experimentalcancertherapy developed by S.R. Burzynski, MD, PhD. Chemically, antineoplastons are a mixture of amino acidderivatives, peptides, and amino acids found in human blood and urine.[1,2,3,4] The developer originally isolated antineoplastons from human blood and later found the same peptides in urine. Urine was subsequently used because it was less expensive and easier to obtain. Since 1980, antineoplastons have been synthesized from commercially available chemicals...
Treatment of pruritus can be grouped into four categories:[1,2][Level of evidence: IV]
Patient education and minimizing or eliminating provocative factors.
Application of topical preparations.
Physical treatment modalities.
Patient Education and Elimination of Provocative Factors
Patients and caregivers must be included in planning care and providing care to the extent possible. Education is an important aspect of symptom control. Skin care regimens incorporate protection from the environment, good cleansing practices, and internal and external hydration.[Level of evidence: IV] The intensity of the regimen and the techniques employed will vary according to etiologic factors and the degree of distress associated with the pruritus.
Affected individuals (either patients or caregivers) should have a good understanding of factors that promote or aggravate itching. Knowledge of factors that alleviate symptoms provides rationale for the development and implementation of effective and reasonable self-care interventions.
Adequate nutrition is essential to the maintenance of healthy skin. An optimal diet should include a balance of proteins, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, minerals, and fluids. Daily fluid intake of at least 3,000 cc is suggested as a guideline but may not be possible for some individuals.[4,5]
Aggravating factors should be avoided, including the following: