What is the reason for pruritus and itching in obstructive jaundice?
Patients have differing sensitivities to elevated bile salt concentrations,
which act on peripheral pain afferent nerves to produce the sensation of itching. This stimulation involves
opiate-mediated pathways, and opiate antagonists can block cholestasis-associated itching.
Itching does not appear to be associated with histamine release, and antihistamine therapy is generally ineffective.
Ultraviolet B phototherapy has been successfully used to treat pruritus.
Thanks for explaining the mechanism to us, Benedict!