Control of pruritus by agents administered orally has been a problem to clinicians for some time. Currently two drugs are marketed as specific agents to relieve itching. One, trimeprazine tartrate (Temaril), is a phenothiazine derivative whose action and uses are described by the manufacturer to be "indicated for the treatment of mild and severe pruritus, whether acute or chronic."1 The drug has been stated to be "far more potent against itching than other phenothiazines" in uncontrolled studies,2,3 to exert a mild antipruritic effect as compared to an inert placebo,4 and to be of no greater benefit than amobarbital in the relief of pruritus.5
The second, cyproheptadine (Periactin) hydrochloride, is described as showing "prompt and marked antipruritic activity following oral administration in a variety of itching dermatoses."1 The drug has been widely studied and is known to antagonize the effects of both serotonin and histamine in
Fischer RW. Comparison of Antipruritic Agents Administered Orally: A Double-Blind Study. JAMA. 1968;203(6):418–419. doi:10.1001/jama.1968.03140060042011
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