The effect of azelastin hydrochloride on pruritus and leukotriene B4 in hemodialysis patients

Life Sci. 1995;57(3):207-13. doi: 10.1016/0024-3205(95)00264-7.


Pruritus is a very common complication in chronic hemodialysis (HD) patients, however the exact mechanism for this affliction is still not known. Anti-histaminics usually failed to alleviate uremic pruritus. In others, an anti-allergic drug, which inhibits the release of chemical mediators, such as leukotrienes or histamine from mast cells, was reported to be effective. We evaluated the values of leukotriene B4 and interleukin 6 in HD patients with pruritus and the effect of an anti-allergic drug on these factors. Leukotriene B4, interleukin-6, C3a, C5a, the number of eosinophil and IgE at 0, 15 and 180 minutes after the start of regular HD in 11 HD patients suffering from pruritus and as well as in 11 HD patients without pruritus were examined. These HD patients in both groups showed significantly higher (p < 0.001) values of leukotriene B4 and C3a compared to healthy non-HD subjects. There was no difference in the leukotriene B4, interleukin-6, IgE, C3a and C5a levels between the patients with and without pruritus. Two mg/day of azelastin hydrochloride, an anti-allergic drug was orally given to the pruritus group for 3 weeks. In 5 of 11 patients, the pruritus symptoms disappeared, while in 4 of 11 they improved. Independent of the effect of the drug on pruritus, leukotriene B4 levels significantly decreased compared with those before the administration of this drug in the pruritus group (p < 0.01). Interleukin 6, C3a, C5a and the number of eosinophils demonstrated no significant change. In conclusion, although azelastin hydrochloride was effective in treating pruritus and also suppressed leukotriene B4 levels in hemodialysis patients, the high leukotriene B4 activity itself did not seem to be related to the development of pruritus in these patients.

MeSH terms

  • Histamine Antagonists
  • Histamine H1 Antagonists / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Interleukin-6 / blood
  • Leukotriene B4 / blood*
  • Phthalazines / therapeutic use*
  • Pruritus / drug therapy*
  • Pruritus / etiology
  • Renal Dialysis / adverse effects


  • Histamine Antagonists
  • Histamine H1 Antagonists
  • Interleukin-6
  • Phthalazines
  • Leukotriene B4
  • azelastine