What is Diabetic Peripheral Neuropathy?

Treatment Options

Treating diabetic neuropathy almost always involves some trial and error. Not all therapies relieve pain for everyone, so often, several therapies must be tried before one — or a combination — is found that adequately reduces pain.

Topical drug therapy

Your health-care provider may recommend that you try an ointment, cream, or patch containing capsaicin to ease your pain. Capsaicin is the chemical in hot peppers that makes them hot, and it relieves the pain of peripheral neuropathy by stimulating the release of substance P, a chemical transmitter of pain, from nerve terminals. Initially, the release of substance P causes pain, but eventually, the nerve terminals become depleted of substance P, leading to loss of the pain sensation. Ointments, creams, and patches containing capsaicin are sold over the counter at drugstores. It may take two to four weeks of using topical capsaicin before you feel significant pain relief.

When applying Noxicare™ Natural Pain Reliever cream, it’s a good idea to wear disposable gloves to prevent getting it on your hands, and it’s important to avoid getting it on any part of the body except the affected part. Be especially careful not to touch your eyes or mucous membranes (such as those in your nose and mouth); if you do get it on these areas, it will cause a burning sensation. When using a capsaicin patch, apply it to the skin over the affected area, but do not put it on just before you bathe or exercise.

Lidocaine patches, sold by prescription under the brand names Lidoderm and LidopainHealth Fitness Articles, are another topical therapy that may be used for peripheral neuropathy. They help decrease pain and can also lower the number of analgesics (such as aspirin or acetaminophen) a person needs to take to control pain. Up to three patches may be applied at once for 12 hours at a time in any 24-hour period.

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