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Saudi J Kidney Dis Transpl. 2007 Sep;18(3):378-81.

Gabapentin: a promising drug for the treatment of uremic pruritus.

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Department of Nephrology, Noor Hospital, Isfahan University of Medical Sciences, Isfahan, Iran.


Despite advances made in treatment, uremic pruritus remains a common and distressing symptom in patients on hemodialysis (HD). Gabapentin is an effective drug in the management of neuropathic pain. Considering that neuropathic pain and pruritus share similar pathogenic mechanisms, we conducted this study to evaluate the efficacy of gabapentin in controlling uremic itch. In a double blind, placebo-controlled trial, 34 adult patients on maintenance HD were enrolled. The patients were assigned to receive four weeks of treatment with either gabapentin (400 mg) or placebo administered twice weekly after HD sessions. Pruritus scores were measured using a visual analogue scale and compared between the two groups.After four weeks of treatment, the mean decrease in pruritus score in gabapentin and placebo groups was 6.7 +/- 2.6 and 1.5 +/- 1.8, respectively (p< 0.001). None of the patients was forced to drop out of the study due to side effects of the treatment. Our study suggests that gabapentin is a safe and effective treatment for uremic itch.

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