FRIDAY, April 12, 2019 (HealthDay News) — Almost one in four patients with nondialysis chronic kidney disease (CKD) has moderate-to-extreme pruritus, which is associated with poorer quality of life, according to a study published online April 11 in the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology.

Nidhi Sukul, M.D., from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, and colleagues calculated the prevalence of pruritus and identified associated factors among patients with nondialysis CKD using cross-sectional data from patient questionnaires in the CKD Outcomes and Practice Patterns Study (CKDopps). Patients were asked how much they were bothered by pruritus.

Overall, 67 percent of 5,658 patients answered the pruritus question. The researchers found that the prevalence of moderate-to-extreme pruritus was 24 percent, with an increased likelihood among older patients, women, and those with stage 5 CKD, lung disease, diabetes, or physician-diagnosed depression. Patients with moderate pruritus had physical component summary scores that were 3.5 points lower and mental component summary scores that were 2.3 points lower than those without pruritus in adjusted models, indicating poorer quality of life; they also had higher adjusted prevalence of patient-reported depression and restless sleep (prevalence ratios, 1.83 and 1.69, respectively). With increasing severity of pruritus, these patient-reported outcomes were progressively worse.

“These findings underscore the importance of identifying patients who suffer from pruritus in an effort to target who may benefit from therapies that could potentially provide relief, thereby improving quality of life and the patient experience,” the authors write.

One author disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry; CKDopps was partially funded by pharmaceutical companies.

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