Gabapentin and doxepin are well‐known treatments of uremic pruritus in hemodialysis patients but no head‐to‐head studies were conducted to date. The aim of this trial is to compare the efficacy and the tolerability of gabapentin and doxepin in the treatment of uremic pruritus in hemodialysis patients. A single‐blind crossover randomized trial was conducted that included hemodialysis patients with uremic pruritus. Patients were randomized to receive 10 mg doxepin daily or 100 mg gabapentin for 4 weeks and the two groups were treated conversely for another 4 weeks after a 4‐week washout period.
Eighty‐five patients were screened for eligibility. Thirty‐one met the inclusion criteria and four were excluded. Sixteen patients agreed and signed the consent and two withdrew from the study. VAS scores at baseline were 6.71 and 6.14, and dropped to 0.57 and 2.35 at week 4 in the gabapentin and doxepin groups, respectively. Mean scores of the 5‐Domain Itch Scale (5‐D) at baseline were 14.71 and 14.64, and dropped to 5.78 and 7.57 at week 4 in the gabapentin and doxepin groups, respectively. Mean scores of the Dermatology Life Quality Index (DLQI) at baseline were 9.6429 and 8.7857, and dropped to 0.71 and 3.35 at week 4 in the gabapentin and doxepin groups, respectively. Reductions in Visual Analog Scale (VAS), 5‐D and DLQI were statistically significant (P < .05).
No serious side effects were recorded. Limitations of this study include single‐blind design, small number of included cases and lack of placebo control. Gabapentin was more effective than doxepin in decreasing uremic pruritus severity and improving quality of life of these patients.