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This search function provides links to outputs produced by NIHR Innovation Observatory. These are briefing notes or reports on new or repurposed technologies. This search will not return all technologies currently in development as these outputs are produced as required for our stakeholders.

Innovation Observatory > Reports > Drugs > Difelikefalin for pruritus associated with chronic kidney disease

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Difelikefalin for pruritus associated with chronic kidney disease

Drugs

Renal Disease and Urology

October 2020


Difelikefalin is intended to treat adult haemodialysis patients with moderate to severe chronic kidney disease-associated pruritus (CKD-aP) (uraemic pruritus). Uraemic pruritus can be very unpleasant; about half of affected individuals become agitated or depressed. Uraemic pruritus in haemodialysis patients is associated with a 17% increase in mortality. Currently there are no approved treatments specifically for this condition.
Difelikefalin is a potent kappa opioid receptor agonist that is an itch and inflammation suppressant. Difelikefalin intravenous injection acts as an itch and inflammation suppressant without the undesirable side-effects typical of a centrally-acting opioid medicine such as hallucinations or opioid addiction. If licensed, difelikefalin will offer an additional treatment option for adult haemodialysis patients with moderate to severe CKD-aP who currently have few effective therapies available.

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