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J Am Acad Dermatol. 2008 Jul;59(1):151-3. doi: 10.1016/j.jaad.2008.03.034. Epub 2008 May 2.

Hydroxyethyl starch-induced pruritus relieved by a combination of menthol and camphor.

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Department of Dermatology, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15213, USA.


Hydroxyethyl starch is a key component of many colloid volume expanders used in hypovolemic shock and otologic disease. Pruritus is a common side effect. Histopathology reveals multiple cytoplasmic vacuoles in dermal macrophages, endothelial cells, and perineural cells with electron-dense foreign material within the said vacuoles. Although classically refractory to treatment with corticosteroids and antihistamines, some benefit has been achieved with capsaicin, ultraviolet light therapy, and oral naltrexone. We present a case responsive to menthol and camphor and discuss the possible therapeutic mechanism.

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