The goals of treating diabetic neuropathy are to prevent the disease from getting worse and to reduce the symptoms of the disease.
Tight control of blood sugar (glucose) is important to prevent symptoms and problems from getting worse.
Medications may be used to reduce the symptoms in the feet, legs, and arms. These medications include:
- Antidepressant drugs, such as amitriptyline (Elavil), doxepin (Sinequan), or duloxetine (Cymbalta)
- Antiseizure medications, such as gabapentin (Neurontin), pregabalin (Lyrica), carbamazepine (Tegretol), and valproate (Depakote)
- Drugs that block bladder contractions may be used to help with urinary control problems.
- Erythromycin, domperidone (Motilium), or metoclopramide (Reglan) may help with nausea and vomiting.
- Pain medications (analgesics) may work for some patients on a short-term basis, but in most cases they do not provide much benefit.
- Phosphodiesterase type 5 (PDE-5) drugs, such as sildenafil (Viagra), vardenafil (Levitra), and tadalafil (Cialis) are safe and effective for treating impotence in patients with diabetes.
- Capsaicin can be used topically to reduce pain.
Regular foot exams are important to identify small infections and prevent foot injuries from getting worse. If foot injuries go unnoticed for too long, amputation may be required.
Treatment relieves pain and can control some symptoms, but the disease generally continues to get worse.
- Injury to the feet due to loss of feeling
- Muscle breakdown and imbalance
- Poor blood sugar control due to nausea and vomiting
- Skin and soft tissue breakdown (ulceration) that may require amputation
In addition, neuropathy may mask angina, the warning chest pain for heart disease and heart attack.
Calling Your Health Care Provider
Call your health care provider if you develop symptoms of diabetic neuropathy.
Review Date : 8/20/2008
Reviewed By : A.D.A.M. Editorial Team: David Zieve, MD, MHA, Greg Juhn, MTPW, David R. Eltz. Previously reviewed by Elizabeth H. Holt, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor of Medicine, Section of Endocrinology and Metabolism, Yale University. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network (3/18/2008).
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