A Closer Look At A More Natural Treatment For Diabetic Peripheral Neuropathy

Author(s): 
Danielle Chicano, Editorial Associate

Podiatrists looking for a more holistic way to relieve pain in patients with diabetic peripheral neuropathy may have an answer in Metanx, a medical food designed to nutritionally manage the metabolic processes that regulate blood and vessel health.

   According to the manufacturer, Nestlé Health Sciences, Pamlab, Inc., Metanx provides patients with the nutritional requirements needed to restore the metabolic processes associated with diabetic neuropathy. In doing so, the body is able to maintain blood flow in the vessels that carry important nutrients and oxygen to the nerves, explains the company.

   Traditional, over-the-counter B vitamins, such as folic acid, vitamin B6 and vitamin B12, are synthetic forms of nutrients that the body must convert to active form before use. Each Metanx capsule contains active B vitamins, L-methylfolate, pyridoxal 5’-phosphate and methylcobalamin, which work to maintain blood flow in the blood vessels that carry the nutrients and oxygen to nerves, notes the manufacturer.

   Lawrence Lavery, DPM, MPH, notes he has been using Metanx for approximately seven years and believes that Metanx is a good choice for patients who are already taking numerous drugs and may not want to add another. In addition, patients who have failed standard therapy or patients who prefer a more holistic approach may benefit from Metanx, explains Dr. Lavery, a Professor in the Department of Plastic Surgery at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas.

   “Diabetic neuropathy is one of the most common complications of diabetes,” explains Dr. Lavery. “Probably half of Medicare eligible patients with diabetes have diabetic neuropathy.”

   After using Metanx, patients with diabetic peripheral neuropathy have reported improvements in total symptoms including, numbness, tingling, aching pain, burning pain, shooting pain and extreme sensitivity to light touch, according to the company.

   Dr. Lavery concurs with the symptom improvements that the company reports and notes the medical food’s advantages over drugs that are currently on the market to treat patients with diabetic peripheral neuropathy. He notes that FDA-approved oral medications for small fiber neuropathy or painful diabetic neuropathy as well as common drugs (gabapentin and amitriptyline) used off-label have their limitations. In his experience, Dr. Lavery has found that “many patients fail all of these drugs.

   “These drugs are expensive and they have drug interactions and side effects,” notes Dr. Lavery.

   According to the manufacturer, patients tolerate Metanx well in short-term and chronic therapy. The company adds that side effects and/or discontinuation rates are similar to those of a sugar pill.

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