People who have diabetes fear diabetic peripheral neuropathy (DPN), as it is common and the chance of developing this painful condition increases as disease duration increases. Half of people who have diabetes eventually develop DPN, and the warning signs are sensory symptoms that start in the distant periphery and progressing in a characteristic ‘glove and stocking’ way. In addition to causing unremitting pain, DPN is also associated with increased mortality. Patients often have difficulty sleeping, struggle to maintain a positive outlook, and are often unable to complete activities of daily living.
The journal Clinical Therapeutics has published a critical review on this topic that includes seminal and novel research in epidemiology, and offers insight into diagnosis of this common condition. Of great interest to pharmacists is their review of emerging pharmacotherapies.
The authors begin by pointing out the clinicians often misdiagnose DPN, and consequently, fail to treat as aggressively and effectively as they could. The cornerstone of treatment is actually prevention, meaning that clinicians need to work with patients to achieve tight glycemic control.