Diabetic neuropathy: clinical manifestations and current treatments

Author(s): Callaghan BC, Cheng HT, Stables CL, Smith AL, Feldman EL


Diabetic peripheral neuropathy is a prevalent, disabling disorder. The most common manifestation is distal symmetrical polyneuropathy (DSP), but many patterns of nerve injury can occur. Currently, the only effective treatments are glucose control and pain management. While glucose control substantially decreases the development of neuropathy in those with type 1 diabetes, the effect is probably much smaller in those with type 2 diabetes. Evidence supports the use of specific anticonvulsants and antidepressants for pain management in patients with diabetic peripheral neuropathy. However, the lack of disease-modifying therapies for diabetic DSP makes the identification of new modifiable risk factors essential. Growing evidence supports an association between components of the metabolic syndrome, including prediabetes, and neuropathy. Studies are needed to further explore this association, which has implications for the development of new treatments for this common disorder.

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