Alpha-Lipoic Acid outperforms prescription drugs for relieving nerve pain in diabetics
443 Diabetic patients with chronic nerve pain (neuropathy) were treated with 600mg of Alpha-Lipoic Acid (ALA) daily for an average of 5 years. German researchers and physicians then removed 150 of these patients from any treatment because they totally lacked pain; within two weeks of stopping ALA the pain returned in 73% of these patients (110 out of 150 patients).
Another 293 patients were switched to gabapentin, the gold standard for medically treating nerve pain (neuropathy). Of these patients 45% (131 people) had to stop taking the drug because of intolerable side effects. Also, of the 293 patients switched to the drug it didn’t work at all even at high doses in 55% or 161 of these patients. The non-responders and those who suffered with drug side effects were switched to other drugs including the narcotic morphine, the antidepressant amitriptyline, pregabalin and carbamazepine which are similar to gabapentin, or the opiate tramadol.
When the patients were on Alpha-Lipoic Acid which worked and was safe and non-toxic, they averaged 3.8 outpatient visits to the doctor every 3 months, but when they were switched to the drug or a combination of drugs they visited the doctor an average of 7.9 times per 3-month period.
The researchers conclude; In conclusion, switching from long-term treatment with Alpha-Lipoic Acid to central analgesic drugs such as gabapentin in painful diabetic neuropathy was associated with considerably higher rates of side effects, frequencies of outpatient visits, and daily costs of treatment. They further write; the pathogenic treatment option represents for the practicing diabetologist an effective, safe, and cost-effective treatment option for the majority of patients with diabetic polyneuropathy. The study is published in the April 8th 2008 issue of the Journal of Diabetes and Its Complications.