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Papers of the Week

Papers: 12 Aug 2023 - 18 Aug 2023

Basic Science

Human Studies, Neurobiology, Pharmacology/Drug Development

Inflammation/Inflammatory, Itch

2023 Aug 16

Acta Derm Venereol



Prolonged Antipruritic Effect of Botulinum Toxin Type A on Cowhage-induced Itch: A Randomized, Single-blind, Placebo-controlled Trial.


Nattkemper LA, Vander Does A, Stull CM, Lavery MJ, Valdes-Rodriguez R, McGregory M, Chan YH, Yosipovitch G


Botulinum toxin type A (Botox) is thought to have antipruritic effects through inhibition of pruritic factors, including acetylcholine, substance P, and glutamate. The aim of this randomized, single-blind, placebo-controlled trial was to test the effect of botulinum toxin type A on cowhage, a non-histaminergic model for chronic itch. Botulinum toxin type A was injected into the arm of 35 healthy subjects, with a saline control injected into the contralateral arm. Thermal sensory parameters (warmth and heat thresholds and heat pain intensity) and itch intensity after cowhage application were examined on test areas. Botulinum toxin type A reduced itch intensity, overall perceived itch (area under the curve (AUC); percentage change from baseline), and peak itch intensity compared with the control at 1 week, 1 month, and 3 months. Botulinum toxin type A had no effect on thermal thresholds or heat pain intensity. In conclusion, botulinum toxin type A reduced cowhage itch for at least 3 months, which suggests that botulinum toxin type A is a potential long-lasting treatment for localized, non-histaminergic itch.