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Papers of the Week

2020 Apr

Int J Dermatol



Gabapentin for uremic pruritus: a systematic review of randomized controlled trials.


Eusebio-Alpapara K MV, Castillo RL, Dofitas BL
Int J Dermatol. 2020 Apr; 59(4):412-422.
PMID: 31777066.


Uremic pruritus is one of the most prevalent and bothersome dermatologic symptoms in patients with end-stage renal disease. Some studies suggest a possible neuropathic cause of uremic pruritus. Gabapentin, an anticonvulsant, may control pruritus with neuropathic origin. The objectives of this study were to assess the efficacy of gabapentin in reducing pruritus scores of patients with uremic pruritus and evaluate its safety among dialysis patients. Meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials, using gabapentin as treatment for uremic pruritus among hemodialysis patients was included and analyzed using Review Manager Version 5.1.4 software. Seven out of 17 screened articles were included, with a total of 315 participants. Meta-analysis of the incidence of improved pruritus scores after treatment from four studies (n = 171) showed that treatment with gabapentin decreased the severity of uremic pruritus as compared to the placebo (risk ratio = 0.18; 95% confidence interval: 0.09, 0.33; I  = 4%: P =< 0.00001). Six studies (n = 290) presented with incidence of adverse drug events such as dizziness, drowsiness, and somnolence. In the pooled analysis, treatment with gabapentin was associated with a higher incidence of adverse drug events compared to the comparator drugs, but the results were not significant (risk ratio = 1.3, 95% confidence interval: 0.81, 2.11; P = 0.28, I  = 37%). The results of this systematic review suggest that gabapentin is efficacious and safe in improving uremic pruritus among dialysis patients.