What is the role of opioids in the pathogenesis of renal pruritus?

Updated: Mar 03, 2020
  • Author: David F Butler, MD; Chief Editor: William D James, MD  more...
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Answer

Opioid accumulation may contribute to itching in persons with chronic renal failure and overexpression and activation of opioid mu receptors. Mixed results with the use of opioid antagonists in the treatment of renal pruritus have led to conflicting opinions about the role of opioids. A newer kappa-opioid receptor agonist, nalfurafine, has shown effectiveness in end-stage renal disease patients. Nalfurafine is only available for intravenous administration. [13, 14]


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