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Treatment of nerve pain in diabetes

If necessary, pharmaceutical products that raise the pain threshold can be used to alleviate the pain caused by nerve damage.

In some cases, diabetic nerve damage can be painful. The cause of nerve damage pain is changes taking place in the pain pathway. Even though there is no treatment for nerve damage in and of itself, the pain can be treated using medicines that raise the pain threshold.

In the case of painful nerve damage, it is also important to consider whether there is some underlying treatable factor.

Even though, in connection with nerve damage, it is important to properly treat high blood sugar to prevent the damage getting worse, blood sugar treatment as such does not have an effect on neural pain. Using effective medication to treat the pain resulting from nerve damage is key.

In the first instance, pain related to nerve damage is treated with tricyclic antidepressants, newer antidepressants (duloxetine, venlafaxine), antiepileptics (gabapentin, pregabalin) or combinations of the above. Sometimes, strong pain killers that affect the central nervous system (tramadol, oxycodone) may be required. The purpose of the medication is to raise the pain threshold. The medicine will not take effect immediately; it could take days or even weeks.

In some cases, nerve pain can also be treated with transcutaneous nerve stimulation (TNS), the suitability of which is discussed with one's own doctor on a case-by-case basis. About half of pain patients benefit from TNS treatment.

In the case of severe pain, professionals specialising in pain treatments can be consulted, if necessary. In this case, person can be referred to a pain clinic at a hospital.

Vitamin B products are used if a vitamin deficiency is diagnosed.

Updated 30.9.2023