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Clin Liver Dis. 2012 May;16(2):331-46. doi: 10.1016/j.cld.2012.03.010.

Pruritus in chronic cholestatic liver disease.

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  • 1Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Department of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, USA.


Pruritus is a troublesome complication in patients with cholestatic liver disease. Several links to its pathogenesis have been proposed, including the role of bile acids, endogenous opioid and serotonins, and lysophosphatidic acid. The management of pruritus in cholestasis is challenging. Medical treatment of the underlying cholestatic condition may provide benefit. Extracorporeal albumin dialysis can be pursued for those who have a poor quality of life and failed the various therapeutic interventions, while awaiting liver transplantation. Experimental interventions, and the management of pruritus in certain conditions such as intrahepatic cholestasis of pregnancy and benign recurrent intrahepatic cholestasis, are also briefly reviewed.

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