Thursday, July 16, 2015

Treatment for MS-Related Itching

Pruritus in MS can be tricky to treat. If the itching is mild, treatment is usually unnecessary and the symptom often goes away on its own. If the itching is severe, prolonged, or disrupts your daily life, talk to your doctor about possible treatments.

Since itchiness associated with MS is neurologic in origin, cortisone cream and other topical treatments are rarely helpful. There are some medications, however, which may be useful in diminishing the itch, including anticonvulsants (e.g. gabapentin, carbamazepine, phenytoin), antidepressants (e.g. amitriptyline, paroxetine, mirtazapine), and the antihistamine hydroxyzine (Atarax).

It is tempting to scratch the itch, but resist the urge because scratching may actually increase the feeling of itchiness. Scratching too hard can also cause problems such as broken or damaged skin that bleeds or becomes infected. And if the skin is itchy, but also numb, then you might cause a lot of damage before you realize it.

Instead, you may want to experiment with applying ice or cold packs to temporarily relieve the itching. Cold seems to override the itchiness and “confuse” the already mixed up nerve signals. Never apply ice directly to skin (always wrap in a towel or washcloth) and never leave ice on one area for more than 15-20 minutes at a time.

Read this post in its entirety:
How Can I Fix This Crazy MS Itchiness?

(photo credit: "Ice Sculpture" by Andy Rogers is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

See also: Itchiness as an MS Symptom


  1. Hi Lisa, thanks for all the great work you do. I'm not sure where the proper spot to notify you is but I have a new blog and I would love for you to add it to the pile. Just getting my feet wet but excited to be part of the community. Thanks again!

    1. Hi Alice,
      Welcome to the community! Thanks for letting me know about your blog.