noahvale, tried them and they don't work on hubby. the itching drives him mad. Its to do with your bloods, some months are better than others.
Yes, itching is usually associated with calcium/phosphorous imbalance. Phosphorous is harder to dialyze out of the body than other waste products and can build up. Plus, calcium deposits can get under the skin. Add to that, we tend to have dry skin. Those who do extended hours treatment or NxStage usually have less problems with itching since more toxins are getting eliminated.
That said, for the past 2 years I've experienced horrible itching - but not all over my body - while on the machine, usually after about 3 hours (I run for 6.5-7.0 x 3 weekly). My pre-dialysis BUN is between 55-65, phosphorous runs 2.7-3.7 and calcium 8.2-8.9. I tried just about everything from staying moisturized and then lotioning up before treatment, to taking benedryl, ativan, atarax, whatever. Even though I didn't start itching on initiation of treatment, I still began running a bag of saline through the dialyzer just in case I had developed a reaction to the fibers. My neph asked the facility administrators to get me a different dialyzer (Baxter instead of Fresenius) just to see if it made a difference. It took 2 months to get approval, yet they stonewalled and I never did get it.
However, about 6 weeks ago the itching started to greatly subside. I'm now only experiencing one itching episode (lower back and arms) per treatment. Lotion and .75 mg of xanax take care of the problem. I can only think of 3 changes that I've made over the past 3 months that can be attributable: I've been seeing a chiropractor to get spinal adjustments (my thinking I could be suffering from irritated spinal nerves), sweating more, and going from an Optiflux 180NR dialyzer to a larger Optiflux 200NR.
Nalfurafine hydrochloride has shown good results for itching in dialysis patients. Unfortunately, the FDA hasn't approved it for use in the States. http://ndt.oxfordjournals.org/content/25/4/1251.full.pdf
I hope your husband can find a solution. Just keep trying different alternatives.