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Have you ever had a lingering itch? An itch that just wouldn’t go away, no matter what you did? For people living with prurigo nodularis, this is a common and uncomfortable occurrence. You see, prurigo nodularis causes extremely itchy nodules to form across the skin. While there are a number of treatments available for people with this condition, finding a new, faster-acting, and more effective option is needed. Research is the best way to identify novel therapeutic interventions such as nemolizumab. Drugs.com describes nemolizumab as a monoclonal antibody that targets the interleukin-31 (IL-31) receptor alpha to block IL-31 signaling. Doctors believe that inhibiting or blocking IL-31 signaling could disrupt pathways that lead to inflammation, neural dysregulation, and epidermal (skin) dysregulation. While the exact cause of prurigo nodularis is unknown, these pathways – and this dysregulation – are believed to play a role.
According to Rebecca L. Forand of Healio, researchers performed a cohort study of 38 participants from the nemolizumab response and placebo nonresponse groups within a Phase 2 clinical study. To begin, researchers sourced plasma samples from all 38 participants. The research team explains its findings in a study published in JAMA Dermatology. First, the team found that inflammatory signaling was downregulated in those receiving nemolizumab. Additionally downregulated factors included neural dysregulation and itchiness. Further examination highlighted 193 differentially expressed proteins in those treated with nemolizumab compared to the placebo.
In short, nemolizumab showed efficacy in disrupting the pathways that lead to the many dysregulated systems in prurigo nodularis. As a result, participants saw better wound healing, as well as less overall itchiness and inflammation. Additional research is needed to validate these results and further examine nemolizumab as a potential treatment. However, the initial findings suggest that nemolizumab could be beneficial for those living with this condition.
About Prurigo Nodularis
As described briefly above, prurigo nodularis is a rare skin condition in which extremely itchy nodules and rashes develop on the skin. Prurigo nodularis has been associated with conditions like atopic dermatitis, chronic kidney failure, diabetes, post-herpetic neuralgia, lymphoma, HIV, and COPD. But an estimated 13% of people have no predisposing issues.
People may have as few as two nodules or as many as hundreds. This condition often initially manifests as a singular small, itchy bump as a result of scratching your skin. The itchiness may occur on the arms, legs, back, stomach, or buttocks. Nodules may be hard, scaly or crusty, wart-like, and range in color from pink and brown to black. Some individuals experience burning and/or stinging in the areas of the bump(s). For some people, prurigo nodularis may also lead to depression or other mental health concerns, especially given that itchiness may keep people from sleeping well.
If you are living with this condition, you are not alone. Consider checking out this Facebook support and awareness group.