MPN Focus Fall2016 – MD Anderson Newsletter

The Zyrtec and Zantac combo is helping MPN patients get relief from Itching!

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About David Wallace

Founder of PV Reporter, a resource for Myeloproliferative Neoplasm (MPN) patients and caregivers. After being diagnosed with Polycythemia Vera (PV) in 2009, I utilized social media to connect with "informed patients" and develop a better understanding of emerging treatment options. My philosophy on patient care is straight forward - "educating the patient is essential, so the patient can guide their physician to meet his or her needs." PV Reporter is a comprehensive resource hub giving visitors vital tools to become "empowered patients."


  1. Cecilia Johnston says:

    Info on itching so helpful. I have heard most of this before, but the clear links with GERD, itching and other symptoms, particularly breathlessness (never mentioned with PV) and mast cells, and that the cause is breakdown of basophils explains why. These mysterious mast cells! I can see I have an elevated level of basophils from my blood tests, but mast cells of course don’t feature. I am trying the Zyrtec/Zantac combination in the way you suggest, fingers crossed!

    • David Wallace says:

      Thanks for your note Cecilia. I personally think mast cells play a major part in many of our symptoms. GERD and other stomach problems are frequently experienced by MPN patients. The Z and Z combo may also help with those symptoms. Good luck, I hope the combo works for you…..let us know how you make out!


  2. Les Lippany says:

    Showering tips to minimize itch:
    1. You can shower with hot water, but turn it gradually colder before finish
    2. Do NOT RUB TOWEL but rather dab. It’s even better to air dry or drip dry yourself
    3. Humidity and Dew Point are very important. The lower those numbers, the better for itch
    4. Try to avoid perspiration on your skin as wetness triggers histamine attack
    5. Itch attack is over in 20 minutes. Rather than take the two Z’s (side effects not good for body) suffer through 20 minutes

    • David Wallace says:

      Appreciate the showering tips Les, they can definitely be helpful.
      As far as the Z and Z having side effects not good for the body, I would strongly disagree.
      First of all, I checked with a top notch pharmacist who approved this combo and secondly, I don’t
      believe the article would have been published in the MPN Focus if it might be detrimental to your health.
      In fact, the benefits Cecilia mentions above with GERD (and other stomach issues) are enough for a third article.
      The ability to take a shower at whatever temperature “without the fear of itching like crazy is priceless” for me,
      and no doubt many others!


      • Cecilia Johnston says:

        Too right! Aquagenic pruritis can ruin your life! 30 minutes of pure hell! Every day! I have had no ill effects from any antihistamine apart from drowsiness. Tried the Zyrtec (cetirizine) today and it was fine, and Zantac (or generic) also has no side effects for me and will help with GERD. I think the Z/Z combination might work for me. You have to strike a balance to live comfortably with this serious illness. After all, most of us take Hydrea, which is chemo, even if mild.

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