Treating diabetic nerve pain (neuropathy)

A common problem for diabetics is nerve pain (neuropathy).  This can take the form of burning, tingling, cramping, clamping, electrical shooting, or dull aching sensation.  In the past treatment had focused on keeping blood sugars very well controlled to relieve the symptoms of diabetic neuropathy.  However, with diabetics who have controlled blood sugar and are experiencing neuropathy, attention has been turned elsewhere. Currently the focus for treatment has been on the blood supply to the nerve. In recent studies controlling blood fat (triglycerides) and blood pressure has been found to be a more effective way of controlling this often poorly understands consequence of diabetes. Two recent drug trials in the UK showed improvement with two different types of blood pressure medications.

While we await more treatment based on this research, currently there are only two medications approved by the FDA in the US for treating neuropathy:  duloxetine and pregabalin.  In addition, there are many other medications used that have no specific FDA approval for neuropathy but are found useful for treating it.  These include other medicines, potent supplements, and topical pain relieving gels.

Not everyone can tolerate some of these medicines, and not everyone sees improvement with their use.  If you suffer from diabetic neuropathy, we would be happy to discuss your treatment options with you.


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