Can Fibrates Help Improve Sensation In Patients With Diabetic Neuropathy?

David G. Armstrong DPM MD PhD

At last year's Diabetic Foot Global Conference (DFCon10), Professor Tony Keech of Sydney, Australia, offered us some tantalizing evidence that fenofibrate had a net protective effect on preventing low-level amputations. While the rationale behind this was not entirely clear, further information at DFCon11 and further data seems to suggest the answer may lie in fenofibrate’s potential microvascular benefits.

Our longtime friend Professor Rayaz Malik, BSc (Hons), MSc, MBChB, FRCP, PhD, of the University of Manchester spelled out compelling data from a series of studies that treatment of triglycerides (and maybe lipids) may provide more benefit than putting someone in a euglycemic state.

He took us on an elegant tour from works by Tesfaye to very recent data from the DISTANCE study that seem to suggest that higher triglycerides = higher amputations.1,2 Perhaps this is due to reduced sensation and the commensurate pathway to limb loss.

We have been discussing this for some time. It looks like there might be some real potential here.


1. Tesfaye S, Chaturvedi N, Eaton SE, et al. Vascular risk factors and diabetic neuropathy. N Engl J Med. 2005; 352(4):341-50.

2. Callaghan BC, Feldman E, Liu J, et al. Triglycerides and amputation risk in patients with diabetes: ten-year follow-up in the DISTANCE Study. Diab Care. 2011; 34(3):635-40.

This blog has been adapted with permission from a previous blog that originally appeared at .


It is an interesting drug but in my practice locale, I can't remember seeing any patients on this product.

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