Anti-seizure drugs used to treat epilepsy, such as gabapentin, pregabalin and carbamazepine, are often used to relieve the nerve pain associated with diabetic peripheral neuropathy, according to Mayo Clinic. Tricyclic antidepressants amitriptyline, desipramine and imipramine are also prescribed because they interfere with pain perception processes in the brain.
Serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors, or SNRIs, such as Cymbalta, are used to treat pain in peripheral neuropathy and cause fewer side effects than the anti-seizure drugs and the tricyclics, states Mayo Clinic. Capsaicin cream, made from chili peppers, is often used in conjunction with other treatments. Acupuncture, biofeedback, massage and physical therapy are complementary therapies that many patients find helpful, notes WebMD. Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation applies brief pulses of electricity to the nerve endings in the skin to reduce pain.
While peripheral neuropathy has no cure, diabetics who manage blood sugar levels successfully can reduce their symptoms and stop them from progressing, according to WebMD. Maintaining healthy blood pressure levels, following proper foot care habits, staying physically active, eating a healthy diet and maintaining a healthy weight are keys to slowing the nerve damage of peripheral neuropathy, notes Mayo Clinic. If patients smoke, they should stop, and alcohol intake should be moderate or avoided completely.