Peter Lio, MD: Alternative Therapies to Itch

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Peter Lio, MD, discusses a few surprising therapies for pruritus that show some promise.

There are several therapeutic options for puritis that may be effective but — perhaps even more-so — surprising.

Peter Lio, MD, Clinical Assistant Professor of Dermatology & Pediatrics, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, spoke on a few alternative treatment options that seem to have potential.

For example, he referenced a study that showed that acupuncture, and the stimulation of Large Intestine 11, can lead to significant relief in patients with end-stage renal disease and intractable pruritis.

Inspired by these findings, Lio and team replicated the methodology as closely possible in a small pilot study and came to similar results.

“I do think there is a role for acupuncture and acupressure in itch,” Lio said.

“It’s not going to be the panacea. It’s not going to solve anybody for sure — and it’s probably not going to give anybody 100% relief — but it may give some relief, and particularly for those difficult patients where you are layering things anyway. This can be a particularly powerful thing to add on.”

Lio proceeded to introduce other promising complementary therapies, such as the antioxidant quercetin and glutamine modulator N-Acetyl Cysteine. Furthermore, early research in animals have shown that the balsamina flower may have the potential to address pruritis caused by dermatitis.

“I love that you can find these things that may be pretty gentle and may be easily attained as potentially something you can complement,” he said.

Listen to the full podcast episode below: