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Ann Intern Med. 1980 Sep;93(3):446-8.

Relief of idiopathic generalized pruritus in dialysis patients treated with activated oral charcoal.


The effect of oral charcoal on idiopathic generalized pruritus in 11 stable patients undergoing maintenance hemodialysis was compared to that of placebo dextrose in a controlled, double-blind, cross-over study. Contrasted to placebo, charcoal, 6 g daily for 8 weeks, relieved pruritus subjectively in all but one patient (P = 0.01). Symptomatic relief from pruritus coincided with objective resolutions of active, scratch-induced skin lesions (P = 0.03). No significant alterations were noted in the serum concentrations of standard laboratory variables, including lipids, alkaline phosphatase, phosphorus, or calcium, during treatment with either charcoal or placebo. No adverse effects from the charcoal were noted during the study.

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