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May 1959

The Treatment of Pruritus in Hodgkin's Disease with Demecolcine (Colcemid): Report of a Case

Author Affiliations

MC; (MC), U. S. N.

From the Medical Service and the Department of Dermatology, U. S. Naval Hospital, Chelsea, Mass.

AMA Arch Derm. 1959;79(5):536-541. doi:10.1001/archderm.1959.01560170034006

Pruritus is a well-recognized manifestation of Hodgkin's disease. It is present in about 20%1 of the cases and usually follows the clearer evidences of this disease but may antedate by a considerable time the characteristic lymphoid changes.2 The itching is generalized and intensified during the patient's fitful sleep. The character, distribution, and amount of excoriation can resemble heavy ectoparasitic infestation. The cause of the pruritus is unknown, and it is assumed to be the effect of a general "toxic" state resulting from active and usually extensive Hodgkin's disease. X-ray irradiation of the active foci or the use of cytotoxic substances is the most effective therapeutic measure available.

At a panel discussion on Hodgkin's disease at the New England Deaconess Hospital, in Boston, in the spring of 1958, Dr. Edmund W. Campbell, of the Lahey Clinic, one of the panelists, suggested the use of

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