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Acta Clin Croat. 2011 Jun;50(2):289-302.

Recommendations for diabetic polyneuropathy treatment.

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  • 1University Department of Neurology, Sestre milosrdnice University Hospital Center, Zagreb, Croatia.


Diabetes is a chronic disease that requires continual medical care and patient self-management education in order to prevent acute complications and to reduce the risk of long-term complications. Diabetes is the leading known cause of neuropathy in developed countries, and neuropathy is the most common complication and the leading source of morbidity and mortality in diabetes patients. Diabetic polyneuropathy is primarily symmetric sensory neuropathy, initially affecting distal lower extremities. Patients have evidence of nerve damage at the time their diabetes is diagnosed in 10%-18% of cases, suggesting that even early impairment of glucose handling, classified as prediabetes, is associated with neuropathy. It is important to appreciate that there are other causes of neuropathy; these should be considered if there is any aspect of the history or clinical presentation suggesting features atypical of diabetic neuropathy. Diagnosis of diabetic neuropathy should be established according to clinical manifestations of the disease, laboratory findings (altered glucose metabolism) and results of electrophysiological examinations. Treatment of painful diabetic polyneuropathy rests on a two-pronged approach: modification of the underlying disease and control of pain symptoms. The goals of painful diabetic polyneuropathy pharmacotherapy should be reduction of pain for maximum relief commensurate with acceptable side effects and restoration/ improvement in functional measures and quality of life.

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