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J Peripher Nerv Syst. 2012 May;17 Suppl 2:1-3. doi: 10.1111/j.1529-8027.2012.00387.x.

Current issues in peripheral neuropathy.

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Columbia University, College of Physicians and Surgeons, 710 W 168th Street, New York, NY 10032, USA.


Twenty million people in the United States are estimated to have peripheral neuropathy. However, many patients are not aware of their diagnosis, are not given the diagnosis or being treated, or the diagnosis is delayed. Currently, the only treatments available for neuropathy are aimed at treating the underlying medical conditions that cause the neuropathy or treating symptoms such as pain. Neither treats the actual nerve fiber dysfunction or fiber loss, or helps nerve fibers regenerate. Idiopathic neuropathy, that is neuropathy for which a cause is not identified, is common, accounting in referral series for 25% in all neuropathy patients and 50% or more of patients with small fiber neuropathy. Currently, there is only one FDA-approved medication for a specific neuropathy (chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy) while there are two FDA approved medications for diabetic neuropathy pain and four that are approved for post-herpetic neuralgia pain. For many patients with painful neuropathy, these medications are ineffective or not tolerated. Continued research into the underlying mechanisms of neuropathy and an increased understanding of nerve regeneration and neuropathic pain are needed to address this unmet medical need among patients with neuropathy.

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