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01.12.2017 | Case report | Ausgabe 1/2017 Open Access

Journal of Medical Case Reports 1/2017

Treatment of pruritus in a palliative care patient with low-dose paroxetine: a case report

Journal of Medical Case Reports > Ausgabe 1/2017
Roni Y. Kraut



Pruritus is a distressing symptom seen in palliative care. There is limited high-quality evidence of pharmaceutical treatments for pruritus in palliative care, including the use of paroxetine.

Case presentation

I present a case of a 70-year-old caucasian woman with metastatic ovarian cancer who presented with severe pruritus. She had been diagnosed with bile duct obstruction 1 month earlier. Antihistamines and over-the-counter skin creams were first trialed, to no effect. Paroxetine was started at 5 mg in the evening, with the intention of titrating up. However, 5 mg of paroxetine was effective, and the patient’s pruritus fully resolved after the second day.


This case supports the use of paroxetine as a therapy for pruritus in palliative care patients and suggests that paroxetine may be effective at a very low dose.

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