Novel agents with good safety profiles are needed to manage chronic kidney disease–associated pruritus (CKD‐AP). This study aims to assess the efficacy and safety of topical gabapentin in the treatment of CKD‐AP. The researchers conducted a randomized, double‐blind, vehicle‐controlled study. The critical inclusion criteria were: (i) patients on hemodialysis for at least eight weeks, and (ii) a baseline visual analog scale (VAS) pruritus score ≥5. Patients were randomized into two groups. They used topical 6% gabapentin in the experimental group while using plain permeation cream for the control group. The primary endpoint was the mean change in pruritus scores using the VAS (MCPS‐VAS) from baseline after 1 and 2 weeks of once-daily application.
The researchers included thirty patients in the analysis. Treatment with 6% topical gabapentin resulted in significantly decreased mean pruritus scores at one week and two weeks from baseline. The MCPS‐VAS of the two groups were not significantly different after one week. However, the MCPS‐VAS of the experimental group was significantly more significant compared to the control after two weeks. There were no drug‐related adverse events. Our results suggest that short‐term use of topical gabapentin may significantly decrease CKD‐AP severity after two weeks with no reported acute adverse events.