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Keywords:

  • diabetes;
  • diabetic neuropathy;
  • non-pharmacological management;
  • pharmacological management

Abstract

Diabetic neuropathy is the most common complication of diabetes as it affects a significant number of patients. The management of patients with diabetic neuropathy is complicated by several factors including the varied symptoms and response to the various treatments available. Strict blood glucose control remains the key to the management thus far nonetheless; it is associated with complications such as hypoglycaemia. In order to provide the most up-to-date evidence-based clinical recommendations pertinent to the management of diabetic neuropathy, several databases and clinical practice guidelines were searched for this evidence-based report. The main outcome measures are reduction in pain associated with diabetic neuropathy and the number of withdrawal rates due to adverse effects of the medications both of which are discussed in this report. Various pharmacological and non-pharmacological treatments are available with varying degrees of success in pain relief. The current evidence suggests that use of tricyclics antidepressants and conventional anticonvulsants for the short term of pain relief is beneficial. Combination therapy of opioids and anticonvulsants has also been found to be superior to monotherapy. Other treatment modalities such as the use of alpha-lipoic acid as an antioxidant and evening primrose oil through increased PGE1 synthesis have also been trialled with evidence of improvement in neuropathic pain. Evidence also supports non-pharmacological treatment such as the use of percutaneous electrical nerve stimulation. There is a scope for further improvement of the reporting of rating pain scales and including various outcomes measures such as quality of life and physical function when trialling new therapies for better evaluation of future treatments.