The use of pregabalin in the treatment of uraemic pruritus in haemodialysis patients

J Ren Care. 2010 Dec;36(4):180-5. doi: 10.1111/j.1755-6686.2010.00190.x.


We evaluated the effect of pregabalin in the treatment of uraemic pruritus not due to secondary hyperparathyroidism. Sixteen haemodialysis patients suffering from uraemic pruritus resistant to conventional treatment started on pregabalin 25 mg/day orally. The parameters recorded were age, time on haemodialysis, haematocrit, Ca, PO₄ , Ca × PO₄ product, PTH, spKt/V, eosinophil counts and IgE. The effectiveness of pregabalin on uraemic pruritus was evaluated by using visual analogue scale before and after one month of treatment. Visual analogue scale consisted of a 10-cm horizontal line scored from 0 (no itch) to 10 (worst imaginable itch). Four patients discontinued treatment due to side effects and therefore were excluded from the study. The mean age of the remaining 12 patients was 61.2 ± 12.8 years, and the time on haemodialysis was 38 ± 39.1 months. The haematological and biochemical profile of the patients remained without significant change at the end of the observation period. There was a statistically significant difference between visual analogue scale values before and after the one month treatment period (7.44 ± 2.01 and 1.7 ± 1.31, respectively), p < 0.0003. Uraemic pruritus is a common and distressing symptom in patients undergoing haemodialysis. Pregabalin appears to be an effective alternative treatment.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Analgesics / adverse effects
  • Analgesics / therapeutic use*
  • Antipruritics / administration & dosage
  • Central Nervous System Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / complications
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / therapy
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pain Measurement
  • Pregabalin
  • Pruritus / drug therapy*
  • Pruritus / etiology
  • Renal Dialysis*
  • Uremia / complications*
  • gamma-Aminobutyric Acid / adverse effects
  • gamma-Aminobutyric Acid / analogs & derivatives*
  • gamma-Aminobutyric Acid / therapeutic use


  • Analgesics
  • Antipruritics
  • Central Nervous System Agents
  • Pregabalin
  • gamma-Aminobutyric Acid