Impact of Pruritus on Quality of Life and Current Treatment Patterns in Patients with Primary Biliary Cholangitis

the TARGET-PBC Investigators

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Background and Aims : Patients with primary biliary cholangitis (PBC) often suffer with pruritus. We describe the impact of pruritus on quality of life and how it is managed in a real-world cohort. Methods : TARGET-PBC is a longitudinal observational cohort of patients with PBC across the USA. Data include information from medical records for three years prior to the date of consent up to 5 years of follow-up. Enrolled patients were asked to complete patient-reported outcome surveys: PBC-40, 5-D itch, and the PROMIS fatigue survey. Kruskal–Wallis tests were used to compare differences in symptoms between groups. Results : A total of 211 patients with completed PRO surveys were included in the current study. PRO respondents were compared with non-respondents in the TARGET-PBC population and were broadly similar. Pruritus was reported in 170 patients (81%), with those reporting clinically significant pruritus (30%) scoring worse across each domain of the PBC-40 and 5-D itch, more frequently having cirrhosis, and having significantly greater levels of fatigue. Patients reporting clinically significant pruritus were more likely to receive treatment, but 33% had never received treatment (no itch = 43.9%, mild itch = 38.3%). Conclusions : The prevalence of pruritus was high in this population, and those reporting clinically significant pruritus had a higher likelihood of having advanced disease and worse quality of life. However, this study found that pruritus in PBC is under-treated. This may be due in part to ineffectiveness of current treatments, poor tolerance, or the lack of FDA-approved medications for pruritus.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)995-1005
Number of pages11
JournalDigestive Diseases and Sciences
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2023


  • Primary Biliary Cholangitis
  • Pruritus
  • Real-world evidence
  • Treatment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Gastroenterology


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