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10 Treatments for Diabetic Nerve Pain

Diabetes is caused by an increase in blood glucose levels, or hyperglycemia. There are two types of diabetes: type 1 and type 2. Type 2-diabetes is the most common form of diabetes.  Complications of diabetes include kidney disease (nephropathy), eye disease (retinopathy), and nerve disease (neuropathy).  According to the American Diabetes Association, neuropathy affects roughly 50-percent of all those with diabetes.  Studies have shown approximately 10- to 20-percent of all those with diabetes suffer from diabetic nerve pain, which is also termed diabetic peripheral neuropathic pain, and is described as a burning, tingling, or aching discomfort that worsens at night.

Ten treatments for diabetic nerve pain are…


1. Amitriptyline

Amitriptyline (Elavil) is a tricyclic antidepressant. Tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs) are recommended as first-line therapy for the treatment of diabetic nerve pain. The mechanism of action of TCAs in the treatment of diabetic nerve pain is unknown.  Despite not having approved labeling from the U. S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), amitriptyline has been used for years in the treatment of nerve pain.  Today, the drug is seldom used to treat depression.

A study done at the National Institutes of Health and published in Neurology concluded amitriptyline relieved diabetic nerve pain in individuals with normal or depressed mood.  Another study published in the New England Journal of Medicine reported moderate or greater relief of diabetic nerve pain in 74-percent of study participants. The dose of amitriptyline used to treat diabetic nerve pain ranges from 10- to 150-mg taken at bedtime. The most common adverse effects of amitriptyline are dry mouth, somnolence (drowsiness), dizziness, and constipation.

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