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November 15, 1976

Pruritus: A Manifestation of Iron Deficiency

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Internal Medicine, Goodfellow Air Force Base Clinic, San Angelo, Tex (Maj Lewiecki), and Section of Hematology-Oncology, Clinic Hospital Medical Associates, San Angelo, Tex (Dr Rahman).

JAMA. 1976;236(20):2319-2320. doi:10.1001/jama.1976.03270210045024

PRURITUS as a manifestation of iron deficiency, to the best of our knowledge, has not been described. The following report presents such a case.

Report of a Case  A 62-year-old woman was seen in the outpatient clinic in August 1975, with a six-month history of generalized itching that had recently become more severe. Her only medications were conjugated estrogens and occasional aspirin. Results of a physical examination and a dermatological examination were normal. She was treated with diphenhydramine hydrochloride, with no relief of itching. At a follow-up clinic visit, psychogenic itching was diagnosed, and her medication was changed to meprobamate.In December 1975, she was seen again complaining of unrelieved itching, shortness of breath, and chest pain characteristic of angina pectoris. She had stopped taking meprobamate a few weeks previously, since it did not relieve her pruritus. Present medications were conjugated estrogens and aspirin.Findings from a physical examination showed