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- Diabetic neuropathy facts
- What is diabetic neuropathy?
- What are the types of diabetic neuropathy?
- What are the symptoms and signs of diabetic neuropathy?
- How is diabetic neuropathy diagnosed?
- What are treatments for diabetic neuropathy?
- What are self-care measures to help relieve diabetic neuropathy?
- Can diabetic neuropathy be prevented?
Quick GuideDiabetic Peripheral Neuropathy Slideshow: Exercises to Improve Diabetes Nerve Pain
What are treatments for diabetic neuropathy?
While diabetic neuropathy cannot be cured, there are treatments available to help manage some of the symptoms. Another treatment goal is keeping blood glucose levels under good control through a combination of diet and medication so that the neuropathy does not worsen. Keeping blood glucose levels under control has been shown to improve symptoms and prevent worsening of the pain.
The pain of diabetic neuropathy can sometimes be managed with certain medications. Certain prescription antidepressants and antiseizure medications have been shown to be effective in relieving pain that originates in the nerves.
For example, duloxetine (Cymbalta) is an antidepressant that can relieve the pain of diabetic neuropathy in some people. The tricyclic antidepressant drugs, including nortriptyline (Pamelor, Aventyl) and desipramine (Norpramin), have also been used for this purpose.
In severe cases, opioid analgesic medications may be needed.
Other kinds of treatment for nerve pain include patches containing the topical anesthetic agent lidocaine. Capsaicin cream is an over-the-counter topical agent that has been shown to relieve nerve pain.
Medications can also help manage the troublesome symptoms of autonomic neuropathy. For example, antispasmodic or anticholinergic drugs can help prevent urinary incontinence. Drugs to treat erectile dysfunction like sildenafil (Viagra), tadalafil (Cialis), and vardenafil (Levitra) may help some men with ED due to diabetic neuropathy. For women, vaginal estrogen creams and lubricants may provide relief of vaginal dryness and irritation.