Project Overview

Patients being treated with dialysis for end-stage kidney disease frequently suffer from symptoms like itchiness and restless legs. Despite how common these symptoms are, there is very little evidence about what the best treatments are. The DISCO Trials will explore whether promising treatments, some of which are already used in some patients, actually work. The first DISCO trial will identify whether two drugs, gabapentin and pramipexole, work alone or together to reduce the symptoms of restless legs in patients receiving dialysis.

Gabapentin and pramipexole are commonly used drugs for several conditions and are known to reduce restless legs in patients who do not have kidney disease. However, how restless legs develops in patients receiving dialysis is uncertain and likely differs from patients who do not have kidney disease and so whether these treatments also work in kidney disease is uncertain. Participants in DISCO will be randomly selected to either start taking gabapentin, pramipexole, both gabapentin and pramipexole, or to continue with their current treatments for at least 6 months. Participants will be asked about the frequency and severity of their restless leg symptoms and how the impact their lives.

The results of DISCO will determine whether gabapentin, pramipexole, or both should be offered to patients receiving dialysis who suffer from restless legs. After we have completed the first DISCO trial, we will conduct further studies aimed at treatments for other symptoms (e.g. itch) and potentially other treatments for restless legs.

DISCO: Dialysis Symptom Control

Project lead(s):

Dr. Michael Walsh

Patient lead(s):

Gwen Herrington

Research theme(s):

Restless Legs, Symptom Management

Project video

Visual Abstract

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  • The DIalysis Symptom COntrol-Restless Legs Syndrome (DISCO-RLS) Trial: A Protocol for a Randomized, Crossover, Placebo-Controlled Blinded Trial

    Canadian Journal of Kidney Health and Disease

    Collister D, Pohl K, Herrington G, Lee SF, Rabbat C, Tennankore K, Zimmermann D, Tangri N, Wald R, Manns B, Suri RS

    Research Project: DISCO

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