Objectives: The present study was designed to explore the efficacy of locally injected thiamine or cobalamin in relieving itch or pain and improving the daily living activities among patients with herpetic itching.
Methods: Eighty eligible patients with herpetic itching with a worst itching score of ≥4 were randomized to receive locally injected thiamine (B1 group), cobalamin (B12 group), lidocaine (LD group), or combination of thiamine and cobalamin (COB group) for 4 weeks. The treatment efficacy was assessed based on the patients’ pruritus and pain severity, global impression of change, and activities of daily living and quality of life.
Results: After 7 days, thiamine yielded a significant itch relief, cobalamin yielded a significant pain relief, and their combination significantly relieved both pain and itch; which all continued till the endpoint (all Ps<0.001). However, lidocaine did not provide significant itch or pain relief than the other groups. Sixteen patients in the thiamine group achieved ≥30% itch reduction; 18 patients in the cobalamin group obtained ≥30% pain reduction; and 18 patients achieved ≥30% itch reduction and 19 patients obtained ≥30% pain reduction in the combination group. The activities of daily living and quality of life data at the endpoint were consistent with a significant benefit in the thiamine (P<0.05), cobalamin, and combination groups (both Ps<0.001).
Discussion: Locally injected thiamine had a significant antipruritic effect, cobalamin had an analgesic effect, and their combination had the dual effect with no obvious synergies. This intervention was efficacious, tolerable, and safe for herpetic itching.