Press release

American Kidney Fund's New Campaign Focuses on Improving Quality of Life for People with Pruritus

New resources include a guide for patients to assist in talking with their kidney care team about itchy skin associated with chronic kidney disease

ROCKVILLE, Md. (June 21, 2022) — The American Kidney Fund (AKF) today launched a new education and awareness campaign that will raise awareness of pruritus and help people with chronic kidney disease-associated pruritus better understand this condition, which causes distressing itchy skin and has a significant impact on quality of life. AKF's educational campaign has been developed with support from Vifor Pharma.

Pruritus, which is common in people on dialysis, can be highly disruptive, affecting mental health and sleep. People with pruritus feel an urgent need to scratch their itchy skin, and frequent scratching can cause cuts and increase risk of infection.

AKF's campaign represents the first large-scale effort to provide resources for people with kidney disease who are experiencing pruritus, an underestimated and underdiagnosed condition that is associated with poor quality of life, sleep problems and depression.

"Far too many people on dialysis are suffering from pruritus, which can be unrelenting and debilitating in its most severe form," said LaVarne A. Burton, AKF President and CEO. "Our new, evidence-based educational materials will help those who are affected better understand pruritus and empower them to seek help from their kidney care team so that they are not suffering in silence. We are grateful to Vifor Pharma for their support of this important work."

A treatment care plan for pruritus may include changes to dialysis, adjustments to diet, using special lotions or prescription medications.

More than 800,000 people in the U.S. have kidney failure, nearly 570,000 of whom are on dialysis. While some therapies have been approved for kidney disease in recent years, few have addressed the side effects of kidney failure. New treatment options for people receiving hemodialysis offer an opportunity for people to receive some relief from pruritus.

AKF's new campaign provides an online hub of comprehensive information about pruritus as well as a free downloadable guide to assist people in speaking to their doctor about this condition. AKF will also host a webinar for people with chronic kidney disease-associated pruritus in 2022.

"Chronic kidney disease-associated itching is a condition that is often underreported and misunderstood," said Molly Painter, U.S. President of Vifor Pharma Inc. "Easily accessible resources and guidance are important for both patients and health care providers, and that is why we are delighted to support the American Kidney Fund's pruritus education campaign."

About the American Kidney Fund

The American Kidney Fund (AKF) fights kidney disease on all fronts as the nonprofit with the greatest direct impact on people with kidney disease. AKF works on behalf of 1 in 7 Americans living with kidney disease, and the millions more at risk, with an unmatched scope of programs that support people wherever they are in their fight against kidney disease—from prevention through transplant. AKF fights for kidney health for all through programs that address early detection, disease management, financial assistance, clinical research, innovation and advocacy. AKF is one of the nation’s top-rated nonprofits, investing 97 cents of every donated dollar in programs, and holds the highest 4-Star rating from Charity Navigator for 21 consecutive years and the Platinum Seal of Transparency from Candid, formerly known as GuideStar. 

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