Research Article

Aquagenic pruritus.

Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1981; 282 doi: (Published 20 June 1981) Cite this as: Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1981;282:2008
  1. M W Greaves,
  2. A K Black,
  3. R A Eady,
  4. A Coutts


    Three patients were studied in whom brief contact of the skin with water at any temperature evoked intense itching without visible changes in the skin. The patients were otherwise apparently healthy, and this chronic and disabling disorder tended to attract a "psychogenic" label. Pharmacological studies showed that the condition was associated with local release of acetyl choline in the skin, mast-cell degranulation, and raised blood histamine concentrations. It responded well to antihistamines in two of the three patients. Aquagenic pruritus is probably common, but it is generally unrecognised and may be misdiagnosed. Antihistamines may induce a good therapeutic response.