Role of gabapentin in the treatment of uremic pruritus

OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the efficacy of gabapentin for the treatment of uremic pruritus (UP). DATA SOURCES: Literature retrieval was accessed through MEDLINE (1950-March week 3, 2008; In-Process & Other Non-Indexed Citations, April 1, 2008) and International Pharmaceutical Abstracts (1970-March 2008) using the terms gabapentin, pruritus, itch, urem$ (truncated), dialysis, and kidney disease. The Google Scholar search engine was used to identify articles that MEDLINE did not capture with the described search terms. Additionally, reference citations from publications identified were reviewed. STUDY SELECTION AND DATA EXTRACTION: All articles in English and studies conducted in humans were identified and evaluated. DATA SYNTHESIS: UP is an unpleasant itching sensation that affects approximately 30% of patients on hemodialysis (HD). The current mainstays of therapy include antihistamines and topical therapies, although many patients remain symptomatic despite these treatments. Alternative therapeutic approaches, including topical, oral, and intravenous drugs; dialysis modifications; homeopathic therapies; and physical treatments have been used, but few evidence-based studies exist to support their utility. Gabapentin has been evaluated for the treatment of UP in 2 small, randomized, placebo-controlled studies, 1 pilot evaluation, and 1 index case. Gabapentin has demonstrated efficacy in the treatment of multiple types of itch and shows promise in treating patients with UP who are unresponsive to standard therapies. All of the controlled studies consisted of 4 weeks of active treatment, and no patients discontinued gabapentin due to adverse events. The most common adverse events noted in these trials were consistent with gabapentin's safety profile (dizziness, somnolence, fatigue, nausea). CONCLUSIONS: Available data support the use of gabapentin as a well-tolerated and effective treatment option for patients with UP who are unresponsive to traditional therapies. Further well-designed trials are warranted to establish the most appropriate dosing regimen in patients on HD.

Vila, Tania
Gommer, Jennifer
Scates, Ann C.
Item Type: 
Journal Article
Publication Title: 
The Annals of Pharmacotherapy
Journal Abbreviation: 
Ann Pharmacother
Publication Date: 
Publication Year: 
Library Catalog: 
PMID: 18492782

Turabian/Chicago Citation

Tania Vila, Jennifer Gommer and Ann C. Scates. 2008-07. "Role of gabapentin in the treatment of uremic pruritus." The Annals of Pharmacotherapy 42: 7: 1080-1084. 10.1345/aph.1L038.

Wikipedia Citation

<ref> {{Cite journal | doi = 10.1345/aph.1L038 | issn = 1542-6270 | volume = 42 | pages = 1080-1084 | last = Vila | first = Tania | coauthors = Gommer, Jennifer, Scates, Ann C. | title = Role of gabapentin in the treatment of uremic pruritus | journal = The Annals of Pharmacotherapy | date = 2008-07 | pmid = | pmc = }} </ref>