Diabetic neuropathies, or nerve damage, can be a serious health issue for diabetics and in fact affects up to 50 percent of all diabetics, because it can involve nerves of any organ of the body.
Per the Mayo Clinic:
“Diabetic neuropathy has no known cure. Treatment for diabetic neuropathy focuses on:
- Slowing progression of the disease
- Relieving pain
- Managing complications
- Restoring function
Consistently keeping blood sugar within a narrow target range can help delay the progression of peripheral neuropathy and may even cause an improvement in symptoms you already have. In some people, intense glucose control may reduce the overall risk of diabetic neuropathy by more than 60 percent.”
The most common type of diabetic neuropathy is Diabetic Peripheral Neuropathy.
DPN is nerve damage that causes numbness, tingling and pain and or a burning sensation in the extremities.
Peripheral neuropathy, also called distal symmetric neuropathy or sensorimotor neuropathy, is nerve damage in the arms and legs. Your feet and legs are likely to be affected before your hands and arms. Many people with diabetes have signs of neuropathy that a doctor could note but feel no symptoms themselves. Symptoms of peripheral neuropathy may include
- numbness or insensitivity to pain or temperature
- a tingling, burning, or prickling sensation
- sharp pains or cramps
- extreme sensitivity to touch, even light touch
- loss of balance and coordination
These symptoms are often worse at night.
Treatment for DPN:
Lyrica (Pregabalin), is an FDA approved drug for the treatment of diabetic nerve pain, shingles, and recently for nerve pain associated with fibromyalgia. It is also prescribed for reducing epileptic seizures in some patients.
In January 2005, Lyrica was approved for the management of neuropathic pain associated with diabetic peripheral neuropathy. You can read more about the clinical trials for Lyrica here.
The most commonly reported side effects of Lyrica included dizziness, sleepiness, dry mouth, blurred vision, weight gain and difficulty with concentration/attention.
Anodyne Therapy or infrared light therapy is a treatment modality that is painless and involves a sleeve that contains infrared light sources which come in direct contact with the skin at the source of the pain. T he sessions last about thirty minutes. The theory is that the light releases Nitric Oxide from red blood cells, which improves circulation and relieves pain.
Cymbalta (Duloxetine) is well known for treating depression and is also used for DPN pain.
The most exciting news about Cymbalta came August 20th at the 12th World Congress on Pain in Glasgow, Scotland with the release of data from a study on duloxetine. Duloxetine was found to maintain pain reduction from DPN for more than six months. For more information check out the article at Medical News Today.
Common side effects of Cymbalta include:nausea, dry mouth, constipation loss of appetite, fatigue, drowsiness, dizziness, increased sweating, blurred vision, itching or rash.
Check out the Diabetic Nerve Impact Tool on the Cymbalta site to help determine if you are suffering from Diabetic Neuropathy. Then take the results to your health care provider.