British Lung Foundation
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itch ? driving me mad

i wonder if anyone can help / advise please.

For some unknown reason during the last few days, more so yesterday, and after another shocking night i have had with this absolute terrible never endless severe itch, all over my body.

It is so bad i am "clawing" myself, all over , even drawing , not a picture :D , but blood!!. i am sticking a 3 ft shoe horn right up my jumper!!! :D [yes, jumper i said :D lol ] then sticking it down my back , so bad, i'm actually doing this , front and back at the same time now, with two 3ft shoe horns. Using them as back scratchers. i even broke one down my back .

My legs have now broke out raw and bleeding with me scratching. The three bands which hold my catheter bag have irritated my leg so much that it is impossible not to scratch. luckily my nails are short, but i am still causing damage by scratching.

As far as i know, i'm not "lousy" :) but my skin feels like its being attacked by hundreds of wee beasties :) i am clean and keep clean. :)

, Jane , the lass that does my hoovering on a wednesday, put clean bedding on, gave me a bath, then dapped TCP on the open wounds, she gave me 10mg tablets of loratadine [antihistamine ], These can be bought over the counter.

Now after another bad night, the only relief i can get, is spraying down my back, my front, and on my legs , in fact all over, with a used, perfectly clean household plastic spray with ice cold water with a little TCP in it. [nearly said TLC :D ] this relief only lasts a short time. I have been driven to even rubbing snow on it, quite seriously!!

Now today, whether i've taken a double dose of meds. this morning by mistake [i don't think i have] i haven't taken any meds. at all since. or whether it is the loratadine,re-acting with my own meds, i do not know, but i have been so tired, almost zombie like [or more zombie like than usual :D ] almost drunk like, [but never had a drink for 16 years] all day, with no respite. very tired, not quite with it :) [don't answer that either :D ] Almost walking into closed doors,, i am very dry, with mushy kinda head [don't answer that one :D ] feel i cant even see properly.Breathing could be better, bringing up phlegm.

Make no mistake about this, i am quite serious, in saying this, as its driving me round the bend [don't answer that one either :D ]

medications i take i,e

anti-tnf injection [humira] on tuesday. [this is a once a fortnight injection into the belly ] ,,,,no problems before.

water tablets furosemide 40 mg twice a day,,, no problems before.

ramipril once a day in the morning ,, no problems before.

lyrica, 300mg a day [took one dose of 150 mg this morning, no problems before.

carbocisteine 4 times daily,, no problems before.[one today only]

diazepam one 5g three times a day [often keep these lower] but no problems before.[one today only]

Now !! ? oramorph 10mg when needed, 4 hours between doses minimum, but used more of late, but never over the dose. [try to use less] three doses today ?

dihydrocodeine, again, when needed, 4 hrs minimum between doses [took two 30 mg this morning only.]

fentanyl pain patches 75 cg , these last three days] took them off today. again no problems before

two senna or movicol at night, again no problems before

then my copd stuff , oxygen 2lts 17 hours minimum, more if needed,

nebuliser , salbutamol and saline.

rescue inhaler

seretide inhaler.

spiriva [capsules] inhaler.

think thats about it [in other words boots the chemist here :D] I have had no problems with meds. these either

ive just had a phone call this minute from someone who may well at least be able to help or advice, so will catch up on that.

if i could get any help or advice i would be really grateful. as i am deadly serious on this.

all the very best

jimmy, xxx to the woman :D howdy, to the men :D

52 Replies

Hi jimmyw123 have you started new meds ?

Anyway hayfever pills willl stop it but need to talk to doc first

I to fleck like a dog am sure its my psoriasis but doc told me its estermean or how ever its spelt comeing to surface of skin that causes it

But tcp will make you fleck more my doc give me some centraben cream and told me to take hayfever pills

Ad defo see doc about it tho


hi d3 , many thanks for your input, i will now wait and speak to the nhs nurse,,,hope you are well d3 all the best ,


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Howdy Jimmy, I had a similar experience which turned out to be an allergy to a drug called omeprazole. The itching was mainly all over my back to the extent that my back became red and raw. I was even used as an example of a classic case of a drug allergy by a junior doctor who took photo's to use for future reference.

Yours does sound like a drug allergy but the problem is finding which drug is the offending one.


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hi tony, yes, this would drive anyone crazy, my back and legs are worst, i obviously cant see my back, but imagine it would be red raw also , i can feel the top bit near the neck, it feels like wee bumps ,nodules or even could be blisters, anyway i,ll wait on this nurse phoning,

all the best tony, many thanks,


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Hi Jimmy

I'm no doc but it does seem like an allergy reaction thing. Have you changed your washing powder or soap or 'bubble bath' dear?

If you are dehydrated it could lead to dry itchy skin. Maybe slap a tub of E45 all over ya body? Even if it doesn't work its quite a nice feeling,

Moisturise inside and out is what I would say until you see the GP, Can you ring your surgery and speak to someone - most times I feel this is the quickest and best way to get advice.

I really hope you do get some sleep tonight - no scratching - you might have to put some gloves on!

Take care



hi socrackers,

yes i do agree it seems like some sort of allergic reaction, i have tried to think of anything that might have caused this, but no soap powder change, or no bubble bath dear :D x .

When i read "maybe slap,,,, i thought you were going to say a slap on the face lol :D mind you that might just cure it lol :) . but like yourself, socrackers, i have tried to think of anything that was different, but cant come up with anything

i haven't any e 45 but i do have sudocrem, but cant put it on myself. due to a fused spine.

i've drunk plenty of water, as i have been very dry.

i have now been in touch with the nhs 24 and now awaiting to speak to a doctor or nurse quite soon, so we'll see what they say,

i do hope they phone soon as i am about done in now,

good idea about the gloves, i have gause glove things that might just do the trick, i think a bit late now as i'm red raw all over

many thanks socrackers, kindest thoughts jimmy xxx :)

Reply heres a list of side effects jimmy on loratadine , I wouldn't take any more you be best of telling your dc in the morning, but if you are no better you must get paramedics out to you, any drug can interact with other meds so it mite not be loratadine but be on the safe side hear stop them and ring dc up or get paras out, hope your ok soon,


hi itsBAme, im not keen at using this loratadine myself, it has just come to me i had this itch some years ago, for no apparent reason, i now remember my g,p at that time gave me cymbalta,,yip, that went in the bin as well :D i had the same fuzzy reaction, zombie like :) this nurse or doc should phone soon [hopefully] , i'm still itching well though :)

many thanks jimmy

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It really does sound like an allergy of some sort to ask you GP and get something for it. I do hope you get some relief from it soon. xxx


hi jolyn,

yes i think you are right, my feelings are something to do with medication re-actions etc, however we'll see what this nurse or doctor says,, i really didn't want any fuss, but it is becoming unbearable, its not so much an emergency, just want to get a break, but think ill sleep tonight as i didn't sleep one wink last night, very tired now, many thanks jolyn

best regards jimmy xxx :)

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Jimmy has asked me to let you know he is now contacting NHS24 for advice and help overnight with his problem with a painful all over itch. We discussed it at some length and he agrees that this is the best option for tonight, as all his medication can be cross referenced quickly, or they may be able to offer another explanation. He is on so much medication, so its best that they check that out. As far as solutions go for solving the itch he has tried everything from cold wet towels, and even snow on his back!! these are the only things that are bringing him relief, but not ideal in this weather as it is cold enough without putting snow on your back.!!

He will be back in touch when he has spoken to NHS24, so hope they can offer him some help tonight until he sees his GP.

Take care,

hugs from Huggs xx :)

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hi huggs, been on the phone to nhs 24, they cant get hold of a nurse at the moment!!, but will phone me back, within,,, wait for it!! 3 hours,

but they did say it would probably be a lot sooner than that, i hope so as i'm so very tired,,

hugs to huggs from jimmy xxx :)


trying to keep hold of the phone huggs in case they phone,

looking at the posts, which i can just about see, i'm so tired :) i am wondering if this has anything to do with this ongoing intermittent pain and numbness in my lower leg and foot.

apart from these infections a few weeks ago, this is about the only thing different , could it possibly be a kind of shock re-action ? or am i grasping at straws now!!

i wish they,d hurry up and phone before i drop lol :)

hugs to huggs from jimmy xxx :)


Hi Jimmy,

I am using fentanyl patches and find that they can make me itch like crazy at times, I know any morphine based medicines can make you itchy, if I remember rightly it's something to do with the histamine reaction in your body and anti-histamines can help. Anti-histamines can also make you very drowsy too.

Have you changed washing powder or any other chemicals in the house that have recently been changed or are new products?

That's the only other thing i can think of, because I know very little about the other meds you are on.

It must be so uncomfortable for you, I really hope you solve the problem and find relief soon.

Charley x


hi charleyct.

i have heard his about fentanyl patches, but i have been on them for years without any undue problems, much the same with the other medications.

and like you are suggesting charlyct, i have tried to think of anything that might have changed, but cant come up with anything. so we'll wait and see,

many thanks jimmy xxx :)


Hi Jimmy, my wife had a terrible problem with itching about a fortnight ago. Knowing that she had not come into contact with any new meds, cosmetics, cleaning or household products, she went to the GP. She was diagnosed as having a Virus. Apparently the doc had been seeing a number of cases recently.

Ann was prescribed with Cetirizine tablet to help stop the itch (its a steroid type) and Betnovate Lotion to dab on the affected areas.

Hope this helps young man. Rib


aye very interesting rib, it makes you wonder ?

i certainly cant think of anything different that i have used of late, we'll wait and see what the nurse/doc says,, many thanks rib,, jimmy


Sorry to hear about this jimmie, i don't know much about the codition or treatments but i see you have some useful advice. Hope it clears soon. Love mxx


oh many thanks for your kind words m. its nice to hear from you, i hope you are well,

lots of kind thoughts jimmy xx :


oooucha Jimmy! This itch thing sounds terrible! I hope you get to the bottom of it soon, fingers crossed it wont be long, hugs huff xxx


hi huff. yes its driving me mad, :)

but so tired i hopefully will get some sleep tonight,,,,,,,thats the phone now, jimmy xxx


Nasty Jimmy and you have my sympathy. Can't really add to whats been said but anti-histamines sounds like a good idea. How about calomine lotion? Old fashioned but very good for itching. I hope you get it sorted soon. x


I too wondered about calomine but remembered when my adult son had a bad allergy to meds. and was itching so badly, I painted him with the lotion. He was then In agony, allergic to Calomine Lotion! It is horrid stuff to try and wash of someone! Xris


i got someone this morning to get me two bottles of calamine lotion, its as good as any of their new fangled stuff :) , anyway doused myself with this, it helped, but for a while only, but i then repeated it. so it was at least some respite,,,,

thanks cough , regards jimmy xxx :)


Good luck Jimmy, I hope you get some medical help and manage to have some respite and a good nights sleep. Xris xx


hi Xris,

i phoned the doctor at 2pm, a bit late, but had the calamine lotion on, and managed to doze a little, as i never slept much last night again. i was swithereing whether to phone or not, anyway i did, at the finish, will explain in later posting,

kindest regards Xris jimmy xxx :)


Hi Jimmy hope you got some restful sleep you badly needed and the itch has started to subsize. Wishing you well Joyce x


thanks joyce

, unfortunately not the best of nights, but did sleep now and then, but tired now,,

much appreciated joyce, regards jimmy xxx :)


Fingers crossed you are feeling better now Joyce x


Hello Jimmy,

Poor you it really is torture isn't it. My mum had this for almost a year. We tried all the obvious stuff like changing washing detergent, switching from soap to aqueous cream, oilatum baths, excema lotions, anti-histamine tablets, calamine lotion, etc.

Nothing worked until we did a few different drug elimination trials. We eventually discovered it was her omeprozole causing it. Changed to an alternative called ranitidine and very quickly mum went from red raw, spotty and itchy all over and practically weeping with fatigue and misery to clear, itch-free skin and total relief. We could hardly believe it. I hope you can trace your culprit drug and have the same happy ending.

Good luck,


Ps. Forgot to say that mum had been on omeprozole quite happily for years before this so it doesn't have to be a new drug. It can be something you've been on for ages but just suddenly for some reason your body reacts to it.


hi Claire,

after seeing your mum like that, im sure you will understand ,, torture is about the right word, :) to think i've had this, that and the other :) often life threatening things,,,,,, yet this is just as you say,, torture .

however, the calamine lotion helped a bit, gave me an hours well needed doze anyway :)

like you i seemed to have tried or thought of everything i could. to no avail

then had a word with the g.p. will explain shortly.

many thanks claire, lots of kind wishes, hope your mum keeps the same , regards jimmy xxx :)


Hi Jimmy,

glad to hear you were able to get a wee respite from the itching using calamine. I'm sure you'll still need to find the cause though (probably a medication you've developed an allergy to) so that you can permanently rid yourself of this misery.

I hope you've got someone at home helping you. It sounds like you've got a lot on your plate and this itch must be the last straw and really pushing you to the limit.

I really hope your GP can get to the bottom of it and set you on the path to recovery,

Sincerely wishing you all the best,

Claire XX


Hi Jimmy,

I don't like to hear of you feeling like this, God knows you have enough on your plate. I am wondering if the oramorph might have something to do with it. Sometimes even if you have been on medication for years, you can suddenly get a reaction. You need to speak to the Doctor ASAP. I hope you are feeling better soon. Lots of love Marie. Xxx


Hi Marie, , that was my thoughts at first, i hadn't taken any for two days, maybe three. But it's true what you say, any medication can cause problems even if you've been on it for a while, anyway spoke to the gp today, will explain at the end ,[ didn't realise there were so many posts ]

all the best , lots of love jimmy xxx :)


Hi Jimmy,

Can't think of anything to add. Everyone pretty much covered all the bases. I will mention shingles. I do agree to it being more of any allergy. Must be driving you

crazy! Feel bad for you. Hope you get it cleared up soon.

Rubyxx :-)


Hi ruby

, hope your well, yes most has been covered really, its slightly better tonight, but have this cream from g,p on now

all the very best ruby, kindest thoughts jimmy :)


I get this on my legs below the knee I could rip the skin off wonder if it is something to do with steroids I haven't changed my washing powder


hi onamssion

i've actually ripped the skin of my legs!! their in a real mess [cant wear the kilt now :D ], shocking what it would drive you to do,

i wonder about the steroids too, as these can have lasting side effects , or side effects showing at a later time. it the same here with washing powder etc all really the same as usual

al the very best onamission, many thanks jimmy :)


Jimmy the kilt will not be a pretty sight with legs like that and as we get older and the use of steroids our skin tends to become very thin hope your feeling well soon


That's a real bummer Jimmy; it doesn't seem like your meds but more like an alergic reaction to something. There was a time when my body, esp back and legs, broke out much in the same way. The itching was SO bad that as I clawed at my blotchy, red skin I felt I was becoming 'unhinged'. I rang the out-of-hours doc and from my description they were pretty certain it was hives/urticaria. On advising anti-histimine it was just a case of persevering for the next couple of days until it eased.

Very much hope you get it sorted soon. Take care and keep warm xxx


Many thanks lovelight,

Yes it is a real bummer, in fact both cheeks on my bummer :D are red raw :D., but it sounds as you have went through the same, so im sure you can well imagine how aggravating this is.

kindest thoughts lovelight,, regards jimmy xxx :)


Jimmy - I suffered with itching skin for 15 months and no antihistamin would touch it. Feet in a bowl of cold water and a cold wet flannel for everywhere else this was day and night. My skin was in an awful mess, dry, bleeding and scabs where I'd scratched in the night. I also noticed that my hair seemed much thinner and I'd lost my eyebrows. I really thought I was loosing my mind because it never eased of. After several visits to see the Dermatologist with no success, I had an appointment at my Dr only to find he wasn't there so saw his partner. He read my notes, took one look at me and said that's not an allergy it's your liver. To cut this story short - followed Blood tests yet again and off to see the Liver Specialist. and after a scan in the tunnel machine, they found gall stones stuck in the bile duct between the liver and gall bladder. This was causing the toxins to get into my blood instead of draining into the gall bladder. (I was supposed to have my gall bladder removed a couple of years before, but because of the copd they wouldn't give me an anaesthetic. So a few weeks later I attended the day hospital clinic was given a sedative injection in my arm, then a tube down my throat and two large stones were removed. Piece of cake - no problem. The surgeon assured me he'd made a hole in the duct so no more stones would get stuck and would fall out.

Within days all the itching stopped and a year later my skin is beginning to look healthier albeit very scared. Just wondered Jimmy if this might be something to investigate. Will be thinking of you. Judy


HI Judy i can honestly imagine what you must have went through, really terrible,,,,,,i was going to put at the end of the posts!! how the call with the doc went, strangely enough this was mentioned, i have a cyst on my liver!! and only one kidney , but just shows how things can be put right, best of luck to you Judy [says me scratching now :) ]

kindest thoughts ,,, jimmy xxx :)


jimmyw123 I can only advise you to see doc. Phone 101 if the weekend seems too long to wait.


Hi Mic,

Jimmy phoned the out of hours service last night, and was going to see his GP today, as advised because it was not getting better and it was too long to go over the weekend.

Hope you are well.

hugs from Huggs xxx :)


the posts are a little mixed up huggs, [or maybe its me :D ] but i can update you now,,

i had someone get calamine lotion for me , that seemed to help , at least for a wee while, i the dozed off, then swithered at phoning the g,p as it was about 2,30 by this time, thinking this was far too late,

But the surgery couldn't be nicer. i spoke to a nurse at first who asked me all sorts of questions,, she then said shell get my g,p to phone me.

The g.p phoned about 4pm. and was on the phone for some time, i told her i had taken no medications today apart from the heart tab. and water tab , but i was now in pain [back and foot] she told me to take all my meds as prescribed.

She said there could be many causes of this, including, liver, kidney [i'm not kidenye :D ] etc. and indeed possibly many other things. [not to say these will be the cause ]

But she must have had a right good look at my files, as, seemingly a few years ago [i remember this now] my ex doctor had prescribed antihistamines, and i had the same reaction then, zombie like, sore head , dry , not with it, sort of thing, lasting for well over 3 days after the last tablet.

She says even the over the counter ones are strong and can have this effect on some folks.

She said "At this time i'm not going to prescribe antihistamines" " I will prescribe something to help sooth it " she prescribed a 500 mg size tap/tub of "Oilatum" , ive to try this over the weekend, but if no better, to phone monday for a home visit , so we will see how this goes.

she never mentioned detergents soap powders etc, never even went into the medications i'm on.

when i was at the hospital on tuesday, they took blood samples, which she hasn't seen the results yet

the owner of the chemist delivered this cream to my house at after 6pm. That really was good of him, as i was having to wait until tomorrow to get it, A real gentleman he was.

i've slapped it on best i could, but will phone jane tomorrow to rub it all over properly, it seems to have helped slightly up to now,

so very tired now, i'm off to bed

i thank you huggs, and all the members for their kind concerns and send my love to all jimmy xxxx :)


Thnak you Huggs for the news about Jimmy. Brigid, my wife came to see me, so we went to the local inn to have a meal. The Plough looks like an old cottge with a gable with black beams on a white background. The staff is nice and the food is good. Brigid had sea bass which she hadn't had for a while. I had cod and chips which I haven't had for some time too. It's cold out, but the arctic wind hasn't tumbled yet

Hope you are well in that wild weather. Yet a little while for the weather to calm down.

Cheers, Mic


hi michael , yes i did do that at the finish, wish culminated on a phone call today with my g.p and a prescription..

all the very best my friend jimmy :)


I do hope this scratching will stop now that you have the stuff. I wouldn't dream to pour cold water now, it's cold enough here. I'm writing with the se funny gloves with holes for the top of the fingers. Seem OK to type on the PC - the keys are fairly big, so don't miss any! All the best, Mic


Hello Jimmy,this all sounds horrific.Under the circumstances I would have called an ambulance,probably.You,re obviously made of stronger stuff ans still managing a wee joke.Hope you feel better soon my friend.Kindest regards D.


gawd Jimmy I do hope you had some relief with this cream xxx


Hi Jimmy,

How did you get on with that crazy itching?

Did you find out what caused it? Are you ok now?

Have a great Sunday

Rubyxx :-)


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