Jornal brasileiro de nefrologia : 'orgao oficial de Sociedades Brasileira e Latino-Americana de Nefrologia

Uremic pruritus in hemodialysis patients: treatment with desloratidine versus gabapentin.

PMID 22850916


Uremic pruritus is common among dialysis patients. Effective treatments are not readily available. Early evidence with antihistamines and gabapentin indicate variable effects. To compare the efficacy and side effects of gabapentin and desloratadine in patients with dialysis pruritus. Prospective, open-label, cross-over clinical trial in 22 patients on chronic hemodialysis with sustained pruritus over a period of at least 60 days. After a one-week run-in period, we assigned patients to three weeks of either gabapentin 300 mg thrice weekly or desloratadine 5 mg thrice weekly. After a one-week washout period, each patient crossed-over to the alternate regimen for three more weeks. The primary endpoint of the study was the change in the visual analogue pruritus score (VAS). Nineteen subjects completed the two treatment blocks and were available for analysis. VAS scores decreased with both treatments (5.95 to 4.6 with gabapentin, p = 0.07; 5.89 to 3.4 with desloratadine, p = 0.004), but only desloratadine reached statistical significance. There were no differences when comparing the final pruritus score with gabapentin and desloratadine (4.6 versus 3.4, p = 0.16) Excessive sedation was common with gabapentin. Desloratadine was well tolerated. Desloratadine provides significant relief of uremic pruritus compared with no therapy. gabapentin has marginal efficacy. Desloratadine is better tolerated than gabapentin.