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April 4, 1977

Iron-Deficiency Pruritus

JAMA. 1977;237(14):1435. doi:10.1001/jama.1977.03270410035010

To the Editor.—  Lewiecki and Rahman recently reported what they described as the first report of pruritus as a manifestation of iron deficiency (236:2319, 1976). This is an association that has been studied for several years by C. F. H. Vickers, and he has presented findings at numerous scientific meetings. I am aware of only one published report from his findings; it is a summary of 14 years of experience1 in which 59 patients with iron deficiency and itching are described.Of particular importance are the following: (1) in many of the patients there was no anemia, but serum iron levels were low, (2) in men with low iron levels, anemia, and pruritus, 12 of 13 were subsequently found to have underlying neoplasia or reticulosis.His number of cases has doubled since that report, and the findings are holding up. I have examined serum iron levels in several patients with