Authors: Terese Monette O. Aquino, MD, Karla Angela P. Cuenca-Luchnagco, MD, DPDS, Vermen M. Verallo-Rowell, MD, FPDS, Elizabeth V. Sanchez, MD, FPDS


Background: Novel agents with good safety profiles are needed in the management of chronic kidney disease – associated pruritus (CKD-AP). This study aims to assess the efficacy and safety of topical gabapentin in the treatment of CKD-AP.

Methods: This is a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study. The inclusion criteria were: (1) patients on hemodialysis for at least eight weeks, and (2) baseline visual analog scale (VAS) pruritus score ≥ 5. Patients were randomized to either, (1) experimental (topical gabapentin) or (2) control group (placebo). Content of gabapentin capsules were dissolved in water and compounded to (PG+PEG) to yield 6% concentration. Primary endpoint was change in pruritus scores (VAS) from baseline after one and two weeks of once daily application.

Results: A total of thirty patients (fifteen per group) were included in the analysis. In the experimental group, mean pruritus scores significantly decreased at one week (mean score 2.7; range 0-5; p<0.001) and two weeks (mean score 1.3, range 0-5; p<0.001) from the baseline (mean score 5.9; range 5-8). Change in pruritus scores after one week was not significantly different (p=0.8) between experimental and control groups. Change in pruritus scores after two weeks were significantly higher (p=0.01) in the experimental group (mean change -4.6; range 0-7) versus the control group (mean change -2.6; range -1-5). There were no reported adverse events.

Conclusion: Compared to placebo, decreased VAS pruritus scores was seen after 2 weeks of topical 6% gabapentin use with no reports of adverse events.





Topical gabapentin, Uremic pruritus, Chronic kidney disease, hemodialysis, Gabapentin cream



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