Treatment for peripheral neuropathy depends on the underlying cause of the condition. Typically, however, treatment for peripheral neuropathy includes pain relievers, anti-seizure medications, and topical pain patches. In addition, antidepressant medications and anti-seizure medications can help relieve numbness and pain associated with this condition. Peripheral neuropathy is a medical condition involving numbness and pain in the feet and hands.
Neuropathy is generally caused by pressure or trauma on the nerves. Frequently, pressure can be the result of using a cast, nerve damage from diabetes, and vitamin deficiencies. In addition, alcoholism, infections, and autoimmune diseases such as lupus can cause nerve damage.
Tumors also can cause pressure on the nerves, causing neuropathy symptoms. Malignant and benign tumors can both contribute to neuropathy, as can hypothyroidism and Lyme disease. Because peripheral neuropathy can be the result of so many different etiologies, treating the underlying cause can frequently alleviate symptoms. Typically, signs and symptoms include burning, sharp pain, eectric-current type pain, muscle weakness, and lack of coordination. Also, patients may experience tingling sensations and paralysis and in severe cases, bladder and bowel incontinence. Treating causes such as diabetes, vitamin deficiencies, and post-herpetic neuralgia can often result in resolution of symptoms.
Typically, treatment for peripheral neuropathy includes prescription medications such as opiate-based analgesics. Drugs containing codeine generally are very effective in relieving symptoms, however, they can cause dependence, excessive sedation, and constipation. The physician may try other modes of treatment for peripheral neuropathy before prescribing codeine-based pain relievers, because of the high rate of side effects. Other modes of treatment include anti-seizure medication. Treatment of peripheral neuropathy may consist of the administration anti-seizure medications, which are typically used to treat epilepsy. These medicines can sometimes cause dizziness and drowsiness.
Another effective treatment for peripheral neuropathy is antidepressant medication. Although originally developed for the treatment of depression, antidepressant medications, specifically, tricyclic antidepressants have been shown to relieve pain by altering chemical processes in the brain that cause patients to experience pain. Typically, antidepressant medications are especially effective in those with diabetic neuropathy, however, this treatment of peripheral neruopathy can cause a decrease in appetite, nausea, and dizziness.
A simple, yet effective, treatment for peripheral neuropathy is the use of lidocaine patches. Applied to the affected area, anesthetic patches relieve symptoms. These patches can usually be used without systemic side effects.