Pruritus is a chronic itching condition, which is often caused by dermatological disease conditions including atopic dermatitis, contact dermatitis, mycoses, chickenpox etc. Moreover, there are various underlying etiologies for pruritus, for instance hepatogenic pruritus results from hepatitis&jaundice, uremic pruritus results from chronic kidney diseases and dialysis, and some forms are drug-induced pruritus.
The pruritus condition is an outcome of stimulation from free nerve endings in the dermal tissue transmitted through the C-fibers and via the spinothalamic tract in the spinal cord. This process results in the form of pruritus or itching. Since, this condition is a symptom of neurologic disorders, chronic renal failure, cholestasis, systemic infections, malignancies, and endocrine disorders, or exposure to some drugs. The diagnosis of the actual cause of pruritus requires a meticulous assessment involving clinical examination and laboratory investigations, which may be dermatologic, systemic, neurogenic, and psychogenic in nature.
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The International Forum for the Study of Itch (IFSI) has proposed three categories of pruritus skin conditions, i.e. pruritus on normal skin, inflamed skin, or with chronic secondary scratch lesions. Since, many patients of chronic pruritus have skin lesions in the absence of skin diseases due to scratching or skin dryness or insect bite. Hence, this categorization by IFSI enables a clear distinction between disease induced and non-specific disease induced pruritus.
The pruritus therapeutics market can be segmented based on type of drug classes, antihistamines (e.g. doxepin, loratadine), topical corticosteroids (e.g. clobetasol propionate), opioid receptor antagonists (e.g. naloxone and naltrexone),topical immunomodulators (calcineurin inhibitors such as tacrolimus, pimecrolimus), antidepressants (e.g. selective neuroepinephrine re-uptake inhibitor (SNRI), mirtazapine, neuroleptics (e.g. gabapentin and pregablin), immunosuppressants (e.g. cyclosporine and azathioprine), topical local anesthetics (e,g. pramoxine), cannabinoid receptors (e.g. he CB2 agonist, N-palmitoylethanolamine)and others (e.g. antipruritics such as capsaicin, salicylic acid, polidocanol, camphor, menthol etc.) Antihistamines prevent the activation of cells by histamine, which lead to an allergic response.
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Opioid receptor antagonists influence the neurogenic component of pruritus. Similarly, topical therapeutic formulations are also found to be extremely effective pertaining to pruritus. Geographically, there is a global demand for pruritus therapeutics, which is on the rise due to high prevalence of dermatological disorders.
The high demand for over-the-counter topical corticosteroids has been found to be one of the potential drivers for growth in the market. Moreover, new product launches and a strong pipeline for pruritus therapeutics are other key drivers for potential growth in this market. However, a major restraint in the pruritus therapeutics market is lack of awareness of the root cause of pruritus and a universally accepted therapy for pruritus. Some of these factors can offset the growth of pruritus therapeutics in the market.
The key opportunities in the pruritus therapeutics market include new discoveries such as the identification of new T-cell subsets (Th17 & Th22), and patent expiry of various pruritus therapeutic drugs such as Protopic (tacrolimus). Moreover, pruritus condition covers a widerange of potential target population, as skin disorders are extremely common worldwide. These factors will provide a platform for new players in the market to capitalize such avenues in the pruritus therapeutics market.Therefore, it is anticipated that these lucrative opportunities could contribute to the growth of pruritus therapeutics in future.
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Some of the major players that are operating in the pruritus therapeutics market include Allergan Inc., Amgen Inc., Astellas Pharma Inc., CARA Therapeutics, Novartis AG, and Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd.