The role of ondansetron in the management of cholestatic or uremic pruritus - A systematic review

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Journal Article
Journal of Pain and Symptom Management, 2012, 44 (5), pp. 725 - 730
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Context: Pruritus associated with hepatic or renal failure can be a troublesome symptom, refractory to treatment and associated with significant physical and emotional distress and a reduction in quality of life for patients already burdened with chronic disease. Serotonin has been implicated as a possible pathological mediator, and, therefore, 5HT3 antagonists have been suggested as a possible therapeutic intervention. Objectives: This review of the literature systematically explores the role of ondansetron in the management of cholestatic or uremic pruritus. Methods: Electronic databases were systematically searched for randomized controlled trials examining the role of ondansetron in cholestatic or uremic pruritus between 1966 and 2008. Results: Five randomized controlled trials were included in this systematic review: three for cholestatic pruritus and two for uremic pruritus. All trials examined ondansetron vs. placebo, with differing treatment protocols. Overall, three studies showed no benefit to ondansetron over placebo; however, two studies in cholestatic pruritus showed small reductions in pruritus with questionable clinical significance. Conclusion: Ondansetron was demonstrated to have negligible effect on cholestatic or uremic pruritus on the basis of a limited number of studies. © 2012 U.S. Cancer Pain Relief Committee. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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