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Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center (GARD)

Prurigo nodularis

See Disclaimer regarding information on this site. Some links on this page may take you to organizations outside of the National Institutes of Health.

Your Question

I have been diagnosed with prurigo nodularis. Three years ago I was started on thalidomide for treatment. Since then I have developed many side effects, yet the prurigo nodularis has not been cured. How can this condition be treated? Is research being conducted to learn more about possible treatment options?

Our Answer

We have identified the following information that we hope you find helpful. If you still have questions, please contact us.

What is prurigo nodularis?

Prurigo nodularis is a skin condition characterized by hard crusty lumps that itch intensely.  The exact cause of the condition is unknown. However, it can occur in isolation or as a result of repeated trauma to chronic pruritus (itching). Treatment for the condition can be challenging.[1][2]
Last updated: 12/30/2015

Is there treatment for prurigo nodularis?

Prurigo nodularis can be challenging to treat.  Due to the intensity of the itch patients may go from doctor to doctor without receiving much relief. Treatment may vary from person to person, as no one treatment is always effective at alleviating symptoms. Several treatments may need to be tried.  You can read further treatment information by visiting the American Osteopathic College of Dermatology (ACOD) information page on prurigo nodularis.  Click here to view the page from the ACOD.[1]
Last updated: 10/25/2011

How can I look for information in the medical literature regarding treatment for prurigo nodularis?

Different treatment strategies have been used to successfully treat some cases of prurigo nodularis.  To search for documented cases of prurigo nodularis that have been treated, we recommend you search PubMed, a database of medical literature. Information on finding an article and its title, authors, and publishing details is listed here.  Some articles are available as a complete document, while information on other studies is available as a summary abstract.  To obtain the full article, contact a medical/university library (or your local library for interlibrary loan), or order it online using the following link. Using "prurigo nodularis" as your search term should locate articles. To narrow your search, click on the“Limits” tab under the search box and specify your criteria for locating more relevant articles.  Click here to view a search.

The National Library of Medicine (NLM) Web site has a page for locating libraries in your area that can provide direct access to these journals (print or online). The Web page also describes how you can get these articles through interlibrary loan and Loansome Doc (an NLM document-ordering service). You can access this page at the following link You can also contact the NLM toll-free at 888-346-3656 to locate libraries in your area.

Last updated: 10/25/2011

What can you tell me about using thalidomide to treat prurigo nodularis?

Thalidomide is reported to be a beneficial for treatment a variety of dermatologic disorders including prurigo nodularis.[3] Unfortunately, there is limited documented evidence supporting the efficacy of this medication in treated prurigo nodularis. Additionally, Thalidomide may be both expensive and difficult to obtain. In addition, many patients experience side effects including neuropathy.[4][5] Other medications that may be considered include (but are not limited to): cyclosporine, methotrexate, gabapentin, pregabalin, and lenalidomide.[3][5]

For specific questions regarding your treatment options, we would recommend you consult with your medical team. 

More articles on this topic can be located through PubMed, a database of medical literature available through the National Library of Medicine at the National Institute of Health. For a sample search, click here
Last updated: 6/7/2016

Is there research being conducted to learn more about treatment for prurigo nodularis?

Yes. The U.S. National Institutes of Health, through the National Library of Medicine, developed to provide patients, family members, and members of the public with current information on clinical research studies. To search for trials, click on the link above. After you click on a study, review its "eligibility" criteria to determine its appropriateness. Use the study’s contact information to learn more. Check this site often for regular updates.

You can also contact the Patient Recruitment and Public Liaison (PRPL) Office at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). We recommend calling the toll-free number listed below to speak with a specialist, who can help you determine if there are any trials for which an individual with prurigo nodularis might be eligible.   If you are located outside the United States, and would like to be contacted via telephone, you will need to provide your telephone number in full, including area code and international dialing prefix.

Patient Recruitment and Public Liaison Office
NIH Clinical Center
Bethesda, Maryland 20892-2655
Toll-free: 800-411-1222
Fax: 301-480-9793
Web site:

If you are interested in enrolling in a clinical trial, you can find helpful general information on clinical trials at the following Web page.

Resources on many charitable or special-fare flights to research and treatment sites and low-cost hospitality accommodations for outpatients and family members, as well as ambulance services, are listed on the Web site of the Office of Rare Diseases Research (ORDR), part of the National Institutes of Health.


Last updated: 10/25/2011

See Disclaimer regarding information on this site. Some links on this page may take you to organizations outside of the National Institutes of Health.