Sleep Disorders, Restless Legs Syndrome, and Uremic Pruritus: Diagnosis and Treatment of Common Symptoms in Dialysis Patients

Am J Kidney Dis. 2017 Jan;69(1):117-128. doi: 10.1053/j.ajkd.2016.07.031. Epub 2016 Sep 29.


Maintenance dialysis patients experience a high burden of physical and emotional symptoms that directly affect their quality of life and health care utilization. In this review, we specifically highlight common troublesome symptoms affecting dialysis patients: insomnia, restless legs syndrome, and uremic pruritus. Epidemiology, pathophysiology, and evidence-based current treatment are reviewed with the goal of providing a guide for diagnosis and treatment. Finally, we identify multiple additional areas of further study needed to improve symptom management in dialysis patients.

Keywords: Sleep disorders; chronic renal failure; dialysis; end-stage renal disease (ESRD); insomnia; kidney disease; quality of life (QoL); restless legs syndrome; review; symptom management; symptoms; uremic pruritus.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Pruritus / etiology*
  • Pruritus / therapy
  • Renal Dialysis / adverse effects*
  • Restless Legs Syndrome / diagnosis
  • Restless Legs Syndrome / etiology*
  • Restless Legs Syndrome / therapy
  • Sleep Wake Disorders / diagnosis
  • Sleep Wake Disorders / etiology*
  • Sleep Wake Disorders / therapy
  • Uremia / diagnosis
  • Uremia / etiology*
  • Uremia / therapy