Pharmacological Therapy of Pruritus in Primary Biliary Cholangitis: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized Clinical Trials

Esli Medina-Morales, Romelia Barba Bernal, Heike Gerger, Daniela Goyes, Hirsh D. Trivedi, Bryan Ferrigno, Vilas Patwardhan, Alan Bonder*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Goals: We aim to summarize the current management of pruritus in primary biliary cholangitis (PBC) by evaluating the efficacy and safety of pharmacological therapies. Background: Pruritus is a common symptom of PBC, and evidence regarding the most effective antipruritic agents available is lacking. New pharmacotherapy for PBC has shown promising antipruritic effects. Study: We performed a systematic literature review and meta-analysis including all available double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trials that evaluated the efficacy of pharmacotherapy for the symptomatic management of pruritus in PBC. Pruritus was assessed as either a change from baseline or a postintervention score. Results: We included 33 studies and 20 medications. Using the visual analog scale, cholestyramine did not significantly improve pruritus compared with placebo [standardized mean differences (SMD): -0.94, 95% CI: -2.05 to 0.17], whereas rifampin and nalfurafine hydrochloride both significantly improved pruritus (SMD: -3.29, 95% CI: -5.78 to -0.80; n=23 and SMD: -0.58, 95% CI: -1.04 to -0.12). In addition, Bezafibrate and linerixibat significantly improved pruritus (SMD: -1.05, 95% CI: -1.41 to -0.68; n=110 and SMD: -0.31, 95% CI: -0.62 to -0.04, respectively). This effect was also present within the subgroup analysis by pruritus scale, where both bezafibrate and linerixibat significantly improved pruritus compared with placebo (SMD: -1.09, 95% CI: -1.54 to -0.65; P<0.001; visual analog scale; as postintervention score and SMD: -0.31, 95% CI: -0.62 to -0.01; P=0.04; numeric rating scale; as a change from baseline score, respectively). Conclusions: Bezafibrate and Linerixibat are potential second-line antipruritic medications for PBC, particularly those with moderate to severe pruritus.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)143-152
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Clinical Gastroenterology
Volume57
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2023

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