Other Names for this Disease
- Polycythemia rubra vera
- Primary polycythemia
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There are several treatments for the itching (pruritus) related to polycythemia vera (PV). No single treatment has been found to be effective for all affected individuals. For mild cases, treatment may include avoiding triggers of itching and dry skin, or controlling the temperature of the environment and bathing water. Several other treatments are available for more severe itching or for itching the does not respond to initial treatments. Interferon-alpha has been found to be effective for reducing itching in a majority of individual with PV who received this therapy; however, this medication can have significant side effects. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), typically used to treat depression, may reducing itching for some individuals with PV.. Phototherapy, antihistamines, and phlebotomy have also been attempted, with mixed results. Additionally, if a genetic cause of polycythemia vera is know, medications targeted to the causative gene - such as JAK or mTor inhibitors - may be helpful in reducing itching.
Last updated: 9/7/2014
- Tefferi A. Polycythemia vera and essential thrombocythemia: 2012 update on diagnosis, risk stratification, and management. American Journal of Hematology. 2012; 87(3):285-293. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22331582. Accessed 9/7/2014.
- Saini KS, Patnaik MM, Tefferi A. Polycythemia vera-associated pruritus and its management. European Journal of Clinical Investigation. 2010; 40(9):828-834. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20597963. Accessed 9/7/2014.
- Tefferi A, Fonseca R. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors are effective in the treatment of polycythemia vera-associated pruritus. Blood. 2002; 99(7):2627. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11926187. Accessed 9/7/2014.
- ClinicalTrials.gov lists trials that are studying or have studied Polycythemia vera. Click on the link to go to ClinicalTrials.gov to read descriptions of these studies.
- The Myeloproliferative Disorders Research Consortium (MPD-RC) is an international, multi-institutional non-profit consortium funded by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) at the National Institutes of Health and set up to coordinate, facilitate, and perform basic and clinic research investigating the genetics of MPDs with the goal of developing therapy. To learn more, click on the link.