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Study Shows Anti-Pruritus Potential of Gabapentin

Study Shows Anti-Pruritus Potential of Gabapentin

The main finding of our comprehensive systematic review of treatments for uremic pruritus is that with the exception of the evidence for gabapentin, there remains considerable uncertainty about effective treatments for this important and burdensome symptom in patients with kidney failure.

A new study has shown that Gabapentin can be an effective drug against uremic pruritus suffered by patients with advanced chronic kidney disease. The study was also suggested that Gabapentin may also be the only effective drug against it. (1)

Uremic pruritus is a disease characterized by continuous bouts of itching throughout the body. It often worsens during the night causing patients sleeplessness or insomnia. Separate studies have shown that almost 46% of patients undergoing dialysis suffer from uremic pruritus.

This comes after the research team claimed that other treatments tested for the disease were ”weak and limited by small studies with a high risk of bias.” The team was led by Claudio Rigatto, MD, MSc, of the University of Manitoba in Winnepeg, Canada. Their statement was reported online ahead of print in the American Journal of Kidney Diseases.

The study was conducted by assessing patients with chronic kidney disease, stage 3 or higher, or undergoing any form of dialysis on 44 independent randomized controlled trials. The trials involved testing 39 different uremic pruritus treatments.

Some of these treatments included pregabailin, gabapentin, phototherapy, mast cell stabilizers, hemodialysis modifications, other systemic therapies like primrose oil, naltrexone and thalidomide, and topical therapies like capsaicin cream and Dead Sea mineral lotion.

“The main finding of our comprehensive systematic review of treatments for uremic pruritus is that with the exception of the evidence for gabapentin, there remains considerable uncertainty about effective treatments for this important and burdensome symptom in patients with kidney failure,” the researchers said.

Another study published in the journal Canadian Journal of Kidney Health and Diseases by a different group of scientists was able to show the same result last year. (2)

Gabapentin is a drug generally prescribed to patients as an anticonvulsant. There have been other claims of it being able to treat other ailments such as migraine, anxiety, and pain. However, most of which are unfounded by solid pieces of evidence.

More studies are needed to fully ascertain this new finding. However, the potential of it both in life-saving and in the market could be a giant breakthrough once it has been fully proven. 

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