Treatment of diabetic peripheral neuropathy: a review

Khdour, Maher R.
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Wiley-Blackwell on behalf of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain
Abstract Objectives This review surveys current pharmacotherapies available for the treatment of diabetic peripheral neuropathy (DPN), emphasising their mechanisms of action. Methods A comprehensive literature review focusing on the ‘pharmacotherapy and treatment of diabetic peripheral neuropathy’ was conducted. The Database of International Pharmaceutical Abstracts, EMBASE, PubMed, OVID, Scopus, Google and Google Scholar were searched, and reference lists of relevant articles were also included. Key findings Diabetic peripheral neuropathy is often inadequately treated, and the role of improving glycaemic control specifically in type-2 diabetes remains unclear. It is crucial to explore the mechanisms of action and effectiveness of available therapies. Major international clinical guidelines for the management of DPN recommend several symptomatic treatments. First-line therapies include tricyclic antidepressants, serotonin–noradrenaline reuptake inhibitors, and anticonvulsants that act on calcium channels. Other therapies include opioids and topical agents such as capsaicin and lidocaine. The objectives of this paper are to review current guidelines for the pharmacological management of DPN and to discuss research relevant to the further development of pharmacological recommendations for the treatment of diabetic neuropathy. Summary Diabetic neuropathy is a highly prevalent, disabling condition, the management of which is associated with significant costs. Evidence supports the use of specific anticonvulsants and antidepressants for pain management in patients with diabetic peripheral neuropathy. All current guidelines advise a personalised approach with a low-dose start that is tailored to the maximum response having the least side effects or adverse events.
neuropathic pain , noradrenaline reuptake inhibitors , opioids , pregabalin , tricyclic antidepressants