Small fiber neuropathy (SFN) is a type of peripheral neuropathy that affects the unmyelinated C fibers and the slightly myelinated Aδ fibers that are present in skin, peripheral nerves, and organs. Diabetics are particularly prone to developing SFN, which can co-exist with damage to the large fibers. As the small nerve fibers die, they send abnormal signals to the central nervous system (CNS), usually resulting in sensations of burning or shooting pain. Sometimes these damaged nerves completely die and the person feels only numbness in the affected area of the body.
The typical treatment for this type of neuropathic pain generally consists primarily of symptom management. The most commonly prescribed medications are gabapentin or pregabalin. While these medications are effective at symptom reduction in many patients, serious side effects can occur. Also, there is little evidence these medications provide additional benefits.
At US Neuropathy Centers, our specialists are committed to providing comprehensive options through multi-disciplinary care models tailored to each patients’ specific needs. With locations across the United States, US Neuropathy Centers is the largest and best resource for treatment and tips to relieve symptoms of nerve damage.
Alpha lipoic acid (ALA) is a potent antioxidant which has been shown to improve the symptoms in patients with diabetic peripheral neuropathy by preventing sensory nerve degeneration In Type 2 diabetics, ALA has been shown to improve insulin-stimulated glucose uptake by as much as 50%, with no changes in fasting blood sugar or insulin levels. In a study examining the effect of ALA in both lean and overweight type 2 diabetics, insulin sensitivity, glucose effectiveness, serum lactate levels, and pyruvate levels were tested after oral glucose tolerance load. Treatment with 600 mg ALA twice daily for four weeks increased insulin sensitivity and prevented serum lactate/ pyruvate-induced hyperglycemia.
Administration methods include oral and intravenously infused. ALA has been used in Europe since 1959 and is well established to be safe in dosages ranging from 100-1,800mg/day.
Some studies have suggested that an IV regiment is the most effective to “kick-start” the effects. In many cases, a combination of oral and IV therapy may provide the maximum benefits.
Before considering any new treatment, you should consult with your doctor. The specialists at US Neuropathy Centers can work with you to determine if ALA therapy may be beneficial in your particular case.
If you are suffering from neuropathy, please do not hesitate to call us at any of our US Neuropathy Centers locations. With offices in Arizona, California, Colorado, Georgia, Texas, Utah, and Wyoming, our neuropathy experts are easily accessible and here to help.
The advice and information contained in this article is for educational purposes only, and is not intended to replace or counter a physician’s advice or judgment. Please always consult your physician before taking any advice learned here or in any other educational medical material.
@US Neuropathy Centers, 2018