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Clinical characteristics and outcomes of end-stage renal disease patients with self-reported pruritus symptoms

Authors Ramakrishnan K, Bond TC, Claxton A, Sood V, Kootsikas M, Agnese W, Sibbel S

Received 15 August 2013

Accepted for publication 28 September 2013

Published 19 December 2013 Volume 2014:7 Pages 1—12


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 4

Karthik Ramakrishnan,1 T Christopher Bond,1 Ami Claxton,1 Vipan C Sood,2 Maria Kootsikas,2 Wendy Agnese,2 Scott Sibbel1

1DaVita Clinical Research, Minneapolis, MN, USA; 2Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma Corporation, Jersey City, NJ, USA

Abstract: One of the most common conditions affecting end-stage renal disease (ESRD) patients undergoing hemodialysis (HD) is pruritus. Studies report that itchy and dry skin, symptoms of pruritus, affect 40%–90% of ESRD patients. Yet, in clinical practice the condition is often underdiagnosed resulting in inadequate management and an underappreciated impact on patient outcomes. Two retrospective analyses were conducted: a preliminary analysis of ESRD patients with pruritus symptoms (n=73,124) undergoing HD or peritoneal dialysis at a large dialysis provider and a subsequent detailed analysis of a homogenous subset of patients undergoing in-center HD (n=38,315). The goal was to better understand the clinical burden of pruritus as it relates to patient characteristics, quality of life, medication use, and HD compliance. This population is commonly burdened by multiple comorbidities and related polypharmaceutical management; identifying the relationship of pruritus to these ailments can help guide future research and resource allocation. The detailed analysis confirmed trends observed in the preliminary analysis: 30% reported being "moderately" to "extremely bothered" by itchiness. The HD patient population with the highest severity of self-reported pruritus also had a consistent trend in overall increased resource utilization – higher monthly doses of erythropoietin-stimulating agents (53,397.1 to 63,405.4 units) and intravenous (IV) iron (237.2 to 247.6 units) and higher use of IV antibiotics (14.1% to 20.7%), as well as poorer quality-of-life measures (25-point reductions in Burden of Disease Score and Effects on Daily Life subscales of the Kidney Disease Quality of Life-36 survey). These results highlight the need to better identify and manage ESRD patients impacted by pruritus, as this symptom is associated with negative clinical outcomes and increased resource utilization. Further studies are needed to evaluate the current economic burden of pruritus in ESRD patients and create possible options for an improved pharmacoeconomic profile in this patient population.

Keywords: pruritus, end-stage renal disease, hemodialysis, itchiness, patient reported outcomes

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