Search Discussions

Main Content

  • Kasey
    I have recently seen my MS Neurologist after a 2nd episode of severe itching where I wanted to rip my skin off.

    The Neurologist started as he has no other patients with MS Pruitius or Paroxymal MS Itching nor does he know of any MS Neurologists in the country who have patients with as they all trained under him.

    i have printed off dozens of articles including those written in the Ameeican Journal of Medicine he read them but he needs more than one patient with the severe itching.

    Can any MS Neurologists comment on this or any MS patients who are experiencing this provide me the name and contact information of your Neurologist so I can connect the two for information sharing.

    I have one by one started to contact MS Neurologists myself in North America but it's a Long process hoping to find one with a patient who has severe itching. 

  • sheelbhuta
    I am so glad I read this! I have had extreme itching for the past 4 months and no one has been able to tell me what is causing it. My MS doctor said itching wasn't typically related to MS, but it isn't from anything else and it is unbareable! Please let me know if you have any luck with this, and I'll ask my doctor and research as well! I feel so relieved to know that this is the cause because I have been going crazy with allergists and doctors trying to figure out what's causing it! Thank you! 
  • worshiphim24
    I'm not a neurologist but did find this on Medline...
    Healthline : Power of Intelligent Health

    Multiple Sclerosis Itching: Causes, Treatments, and More


    Part 1 of 5: Overview



    1. It’s common for people with MS to experience strange sensations (also known as dysesthesias).
    2. Itching is one potential sensory disturbance of MS. It’s different from allergic itching because it’s not accompanied by a rash or skin irritation.
    3. If itching is mild, no treatment is necessary. Over-the-counter topical treatments are not useful for this type of itching.

    Have you ever felt an itch that just wouldn’t go away? One where the more you scratch, the more it itches? Although itching for no apparent reason may sound like a psychological problem, it’s a very real phenomenon for people with multiple sclerosis (MS).

    It’s common for people with MS to experience strange sensations (also known as dysesthesias). These sensations can feel like pins and needles, burning, stabbing, or tearing. Itching (pruritus) is another symptom of MS.

    These physical feelings are often early signs of MS. They occur in about 20 to 50 percent of people with MS, according to the Multiple Sclerosis Foundation.


    Part 2 of 5: MS

    What Is MS?

    Symptoms Icon

    MS is a disease of the central nervous system. It occurs when the body’s immune system abnormally attacks the body’s central nervous system. The cause of MS is unknown. According to the National MS Society, it is thought to be a reaction to environmental factors in people genetically susceptible to those factors.

    In people with MS, the immune system mistakenly attacks myelin. Myelin is the protective coating that surrounds nerves. When this coating is attacked, nerves are vulnerable to damage. This disrupts signals between the brain and the rest of the body. Symptoms vary according to the location of the damage. They can even cause disability. 

    Sometimes demyelination (the process in which myelin is destroyed) can cause electrical impulses that create strange sensations. Paroxysmal symptoms (temporary neurological disturbances) are generally more fleeting than those of full-blown MS attacks.

    Part 3 of 5: Causes

    Causes of MS Itching

    Causes Icon

    Itching is just one potential sensory disturbance of MS. As with other symptoms of MS, itching may come on suddenly and occur in waves. It may last a few minutes or for much longer. Itching is one family of these disturbances. They are different from allergic itching because they are not accompanied by a rash or skin irritation.

    There may be other causes of MS-related itching. Some disease-modifying medications are administered by injection. These may cause temporary skin irritation and itching at the injection site. An allergic reaction to medications like interferon beta-1a (Avonex) also may result in itching. 

    An allergic skin reaction to some drugs that are given intravenously (by IV) may cause the skin to itch. In clinical trials, one of the common side effects of the oral medication dimethyl fumarate (Tecfidera) was the sensation of itching.

    Part 4 of 5: Treatment

    Treating MS Itching

    Treatment Icon

    If itching is mild, no treatment is necessary. Over-the-counter topical treatments are not useful for this type of itching.

    If itching is severe, prolonged, or begins to interfere with daily living, talk to your doctor. Medications used to treat dysesthetic itching include anticonvulsants, antidepressants, and antihistamine hydroxyzine.


    According to the National MS Society, there are some medications that are successful at treating this type of itching. They are:

    • some anticonvulsants, specifically carbamazepine (Tegretol), phenytoin (Dilantin), and gabapentin (Neurontin)
    • antidepressant, amitriptyline (Elavil) 
    • antihistamine hydroxyzine, Atarax

    Natural/Alternative Remedies

    Practicing mindfulness can help reduce your stress. According to the Mayo Clinic, stress has been found to worsen neurological symptoms. Since MS itching is one of those symptoms, mindfulness may also help reduce the symptoms of this type of sensation.

    According to the American Academy of Neurology, there is some weak evidence that reflexology helps to treat strange sensations, numbness, and tingling that you may have on the skin. 

    It is important to note that it’s recommended to avoid magnetic therapy if you have MS. This type of therapy can cause the skin to feel a burning sensation.

    Lifestyle Changes

    There are not any specific lifestyle changes that are used to treat itching in MS. However, there are some changes that help reduce the overall symptoms of MS. These include:

    • healthy diet
    • exercise (including yoga)
    • massage for relaxation

    Managing your overall symptoms can help manage the causes of this type of itching.

    Part 5 of 5: Outlook


    Icon Outlook

    MS-related itching is irritating and distracting. However, it usually does not pose a long-term risk.

    Itching creates a strong desire to scratch, but this can actually increase the feeling of itchiness. Vigorous scratching can break and damage the skin, which can lead to infection.

    The good news is that, in most cases, no treatment is necessary. The symptoms will subside on their own. However, if your itching also has an external rash or visible irritation, see your doctor. This may be a sign of an allergic reaction or infection and is probably not related to MS disease activity.

    You Asked, We Answered

    • I practice self-control from itching during the day, but I often wake up with scratches all over my body from itching in my sleep. Any tips on ways I can prevent this?
    • The only foolproof way to avoid this is to wear gloves to bed. I know this sounds inconvenient, but it works! The gloves don’t have to be heavy or thick, but they do need to completely cover your fingernails. You can also keep all your fingernails trimmed neatly, apply topical anti-itch medications (Benadryl, OTC hydrocortisone), and talk to your doctor about taking oral antihistamines at night (to prevent the urge to itch).

      - Dr. Steve Kim
  • squareroot
    I don't know of a neurologist, but I can share what has helped me with eczema (and itching related to MS). 

    moisturizer after every shower
    moisture socks every night to help my feet (the worst of it)
    gluten free/dairy free diet

    I also had the feeling that I wanted to rip off my feet it itched/hurt so bad.  I tried steroid treatments and other medications from the doctor to no avail.  I think the meds made it worse.  I became strict about the moistureizer and modifying my diet.  So far, so good.

    Everyone is different so who knows what will work for you.  Good luck!
  • unicorn1979
    i have been causeing sore for  all most 4 year  one of thing that sent me to dr to be test for ms that and loseing fill hands and other part off and on hand steel no fill after being on ms pill for 3 year any i know how you fill  itching to where draw blood have sore my ms dr blow me off when tried to talk to her new to this page so do not know if can post photo if so could see some sore became scares she said the 1 pill but it may me forget my birthday they gave to me for my rsd when was18 will never take sure there are other pill