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Br J Clin Pract. 1994 Nov-Dec;48(6):331.

Buprenorphine and hepatic pruritus.

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  • 1Academic Unit of Medicine, St James's University Hospital, Leeds.


Pruritus in cholestatic liver disease can be difficult to treat. It may be related to impaired excretion of large opioid peptides. Buprenorphine, a drug with partial opiate antagonist properties, was used in a double-blind trial of five patients with uncontrollable itching. One patient improved clinically, one patient had good relief from pruritus and three had intolerable side-effects. Buprenorphine may be of limited use in intractable pruritus.

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