Fostering innovation in symptom management among hemodialysis patients: Paths forward for insomnia, muscle cramps, and fatigue

Kidney Health Initiative Prioritizing Symptoms of ESRD Patients for Developing Therapeutic Interventions Stakeholder Meeting Participants

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61 Scopus citations


Individuals receiving in-center maintenance hemodialysis bear a high burden of both physical and mood symptoms. More than half of patients on hemodialysis report sleep disturbance, muscle cramps, and fatigue. Patients describe symptoms as having a deleterious effect on their quality of life, suggesting that symptom alleviation may meaningfully improve patient-reported outcomes. Moreover, patients on hemodialysis have identified symptom management as a key area for research and innovation, prioritizing symptom alleviation over other health outcomes such as mortality and biochemical indices. Despite the importance of symptoms to patients, there has been little research explicitly geared toward improving patient symptoms, and therefore minimal innovation in symptom management. In general, the physiologic underpinnings of symptoms are poorly understood, hampering the development of targeted therapies. In fact, there have been few drugs or devices approved by the US Food and Drug Administration for the indication of improving any patient-reported outcomes for patients on hemodialysis. Recognizing this gap in innovation, the Kidney Health Initiative, a public–private partnership between the American Society of Nephrology and US Food and Drug Administration, convened a workgroup to first prioritize symptoms for the development of therapeutic interventions, and then identify near-term actionable research goals for the prioritized physical symptoms of insomnia, muscle cramps, and fatigue. This paper summarizes the pathophysiology of the three prioritized symptoms, identifies key knowledge gaps, acknowledges factors that challenge development of new therapies, and offers the nephrology community actionable research goals for insomnia, muscle cramps, and fatigue.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)150-160
Number of pages11
JournalClinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 7 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 by the American Society of Nephrology.


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