• 31-Dec-2018
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  • Version 198 0
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  • Renal Pruritus

The effectiveness of Narrow Band Ultraviolet B Phototherapy in Treatment-Resistant Hemodialysis-Associated Pruritus in Iraqi Patients

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Background: Hemodialysis-associated pruritus is a common disabling symptom affecting approximately 22-90% of patients undergoing maintenance hemodialysis. For patients who do not respond to conventional treatments, narrow band ultraviolet B phototherapy (NB-UVB) has demonstrated favorable therapeutic effects.

Aim: To evaluate the effectiveness of NB-UVB phototherapy in treatment-resistant hemodialysis-associated pruritus.

Patients and Methods: Eighteen patients who were unresponsive to conventional treatments including emollient zinc castor oil or antihistamines received NB-UVB phototherapy three times a week for 6 weeks. Pruritus intensity was assessed using the Visual Analogue Scale (VAS) and the 5D-itch scale at baseline, 3 weeks and 6 weeks of treatment, and 6 weeks after treatment cessation.

Results: The VAS improved from 7.1 ± 0.31 at baseline to 3.7 ± 0.52, p <0.001 and the 5-D itch score improved from 17.6 ± 0.65 before to 9.5 ± 1.24, p <0.001, 6 weeks after NB-UVB treatment. Relief from pruritus was maintained for 6-weeks after treatment cessation in 77.8% of patients. Side effects were tolerable and did not lead to treatment modification.

Conclusions: NB-UVB is an effective treatment in patients with hemodialysis-associated pruritus with no significant side effects. A larger randomized blinded trial is needed to establish it as a treatment option.
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