Of the many drugs which have been advocated and used for the symptomatic relief of pruritus, gynergen1 and histamine2 have received most favorable attention in recent years. No reason based on sound pharmacologic principles has been assigned for their antipruritic action. Although it has been suggested that gynergen is useful because of the supposed relationship of pruritus to the sympathetic nervous system,3 no proof has been offered to substantiate the hypothesis.
Since histamine causes dilation of the cutaneous capillaries it seemed of interest to determine the effect on pruritus of other drugs which also dilate the cutaneous blood vessels. Of these, the nitrites seemed best suited because their vasodilator action is profound, because they may be administered by mouth and are of low toxicity and because they are relatively inexpensive.
Three compounds, amyl nitrite, glyceryl trinitrate and erythrol tetranitrate were used. The mode of administration did not
PRINZMETAL M. USE OF NITRITES FOR THE RELIEF OF PRURITUS. Arch Derm Syphilol. 1934;30(6):843–846. doi:10.1001/archderm.1934.01460180085014
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