A diagnosis of type 2 diabetes should not only be taken seriously but also comes with many concerns. One of the most debilitating concern is that, over time, peripheral neuropathy can set in causing diabetic leg and foot pain, hand pain, weakness and numbness.
What is Peripheral Neuropathy?
Peripheral neuropathy is a serious disease of the blood vessels that supply the nerves as well as the nerves themselves. Peripheral neuropathy is usually described as a tingling or burning in the legs, feet and/or hands as well as loss of sensation or numbness.
The most common prescription drug prescribed by doctors for those suffering with diabetic leg and foot pain is Lyrica®. Unfortunately, Lyrica® comes with a high price to pay as to side effects.
Here is a list of some of the recorded and more notable side effects of Lyrica®:
- Unexpectedly high incidence of hemangio-sarcoma (a cancer of blood vessels).
- Raises creatinine kinase (leads to kidney disease)
- Lowers platelet count
- Causes changes in the EKG that can lead to heart block
- Causes weight gain
- Causes swelling of the ankles
- Can cause life-threatening angioedema (swelling of the throat and face inhibiting breathing).
- Causes retinal atrophy as well as corneal inflammation and calcification. (meaning you can go blind from it as it progresses to macular degeneration)
- Vertigo, dizziness, unsteadiness, coordination problems, abnormal gait
- Depression, suicidal thoughts or actions
- Muscle breakdown (rhabdomyolysis), tremor
- Withdrawal symptoms, discontinuation syndrome, seizures
You may have already noticed that many of the above side effects are health concerns those with diabetes are actually trying to avoid. This particular drug just speeds up the likelihood that one may get the side effects much sooner. To make matters worse any improvement that one may experience from Lyrica® is usually short-lived and often wears off after a year or so.
Natural Solutions for Diabetic Leg and Foot Pain (Peripheral Neuropathy)
Fortunately, there is abundant research using non-drug solutions for peripheral neuropathy. And most, if not all, of these solutions are free of toxic/harmful side effects.
It’s not often that you will hear about doctors specializing in diabetes who seek to identify the underlying cause of this disease. But that is the philosophy of conventional medicine – treat the symptoms and not the actual cause.
Take a glance at the medical references listed below in the References & Resources Section. They are quite convincing and show that there are nutrients that have actually helped to reverse diabetic neuropathy. These natural remedies include acetyl-L-carnitine, alpha lipoic acid, Full Spectrum vitamin E, Biotin, benfotiamine, B6, etc.
Considering these medical studies are from the very journals of diabetic specialists, why would a doctor prescribe Lyrica as a first-line of treatment of leg pain when they have not first tried ALC (acetyl-L-carnitine) for nerve regeneration?
Sometimes the answer might be as simple as correcting a vitamin B1 or B6 deficiency. It all depends on each person’s particular health concerns. In other words, let’s look for the underlying cause instead of putting a band-aide on a health concern that in the long run may actually cause other health concerns.
I do recognize that some people with hard-to-treat diabetic leg and foot pain may do well while using Lyrica® and may suffer few or no side effects. But many people don’t get much benefit and do suffer short and long term side effects. For them, Lyrica® may not be the panacea described in TV commercials. Even more concerning is that many do not realize or understand the long term health concerns that can arise from the use of Lyrica®. Before implementing any of my suggestions, please talk about your particular health concerns with a trusted healthcare professional who knows your health history.
References & Resources
Sima AA, et al, Acetyl-L-Carnitine Study Group, Acetyl-L-carnitine improves pain, nerve regeneration, and vibratory perception in patients with chronic diabetic neuropathy: an analysis of two randomized placebo-controlled trials, Diabetes Care 28; 1:89-94, Jan 2005.
Quatraro A, et al, Acetyl L-carnitine for symptomatic diabetic neuropathy, Diabetologia 38:123, 1995.
Scarpini E, et al, Effect of acetyl-L-carnitine in the treatment of painful peripheral neuropathy is in HIV-positive patients, J Peripher Nern Syst 2: 250-2, 1997.
Zeigler D, et al, Alpha-lipoic acid in the treatment of diabetic peripheral and cardiac autonomic neuropathy, Diabetes 46 suppl. 2: s 62-6, 1997.
Nakamura J, et al, Polyol pathway hyperactivity is closely related to carnitine deficiency in the pathogenesis of diabetic neuropathy of streptozotocin-diabetic rats. J Pharmacol Exp Ther, 287:897-902, 1998.
Tutuncu NB, et al, Reversal of defective nerve condition with vitamin E supplementation in type 2 diabetes. Diabetes Care 21:1915-18, 1998.
Fedele D, et al, Peripheral diabetic neuropathy. Current recommendations and future prospects for its prevention and management, Drugs 54:414-21. 1997.
Ido Y, et al, Neural dysfunction and metabolic imbalances in diabetic rats. Prevention by acetyl-L-carnitine. Diabetes 43:1469-77, 1994.
Onofrij M, et al, Acetyl-L-carnitine as a new therapeutic approach for peripheral neuropathies with pain, Mt J Clin Pharmacol Res 15:9-15, 1995.
Lowitt S, et al, Acetyl-L-carnitine corrects the altered peripheral nerve function of experimental diabetes, Metab 44:677-80, 1995.
DeGrandis D, et al, Acetyl-L-carnitine in the treatment of diabetic neuropathy. A long-term randomized, double-blind placebo-controlled study, Drugs R D, 3: 223-31, 2002.
Abbas ZG, et al, Evaluation of the efficacy of thiamine and pyridoxine in the treatment of symptomatic diabetic peripheral neuropathy, East African Med J, 74:803-8, 1997.
Koutsikos D, et al, Biotin for diabetic peripheral neuropathy. Biotin may also reduce pain, Rimed Pharmacother 44:511-4, 1990.
Miranda-Massari JR, Gonzalez MJ, Jimenez FJ, Allende-Vigo MZ, Duconge J. Metabolic correction in the management of diabetic peripheral neuropathy: improving clinical results beyond symptom control. Curr Clin Pharmacol. 2011 Nov;6(4):260-73.
Balakumar P, Rohilla A, Krishan P, Solairaj P, Thangathirupathi A. The multifaceted therapeutic potential of benfotiamine. Pharmacol Res. 2010 Jun;61(6):482-8. doi: 10.1016/j.phrs.2010.02.008. Epub 2010 Feb 25.
A study of 551 patients indicating the clinical success of the ReBuilder® Electrical System in treating peripheral neuropathy. Dynamic Health and Wellness Center, Illinois USA. http://www.rebuildermedical.com/studies/study-551.php
Grisanti, Dr. Ron. The Answer to Diabetic Leg Pain? http://www.yourmedicaldetective.com/public/1140.cfm