Turkish Journal of Medical Sciences




Background/aim: To explore the dermatological lesions associated with chronic pruritus in patients who were followed up at our clinic for type 1 and type 2 diabetes mellitus (DM). Materials and methods: The study population consisted of 249 patients with DM, who presented to the endocrinology clinic at Ankara University Faculty of Medicine between January 2022, and March 2022, regardless of whether they had reported experiencing pruritus symptoms. The visual analog scale and 5-D itch scale were used to determine the severity of itching in patients. Dermatological examination findings were also evaluated. Results: Of the 249 patients with DM, mean duration since diabetes was diagnosed was 12 ± 9.2 [median 10 (0.3?46)] years, and the mean HbA1c levels were 8.1% ± 2.1%. Pruritus was detected in 77 (30.9%) patients and the mean duration of diabetes diagnosis was 13.4 ± 9.7 years. Examination of the microvascular and macrovascular complications showed that the incidence of retinopathy, nephropathy, neuropathy and peripheral arterial disease was 31.2% (p = 0.003), 31.2% (p = 0.005), 66.2% (p < 0.001) and 10.4% (p = 0.038), respectively, in the group with pruritus. These incidences were significantly higher in the group with pruritus than in those without pruritus. Dermatological examination showed that the most common condition was xerosis (64%), followed by fungal skin infection (16%) and bullous pemphigoid (8%). No skin findings were noted in 7% of patients who complained of itching. Conclusion: Chronic pruritus may be associated with several factors such as poor glycemic control, high BMI and microvascular and macrovascular complications in patients with DM. Especially in patients with severe generalized pruritus who do not respond to standard antipruritic treatments, the use of DPP-4 inhibitors, a class of oral antidiabetic agents, should be questioned and all medications being used by the patient should be reviewed.


Bullous pemphigoid, diabetes mellitus, pruritus

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