Treatment options for diabetic neuropathy include blood sugar management and medications such as anti-seizure drugs, antidepressants, opioids and lidocaine patches, according to Mayo Clinic. No known cure for diabetic neuropathy exists as of 2015, so treatment focuses on slowing the progression of the neuropathy, relieving pain and restoring function.
Keeping blood sugar within a specific target range is known to slow progression and relieve symptoms of diabetic neuropathy, as stated by Mayo Clinic. Patients should also quit smoking, exercise, follow a healthy diet, keep blood pressure in check and avoid alcohol to help slow nerve damage. Patients may also need to seek treatment for specific complications of neuropathy such as sexual dysfunction, digestive problems and urinary tract problems.
Anti-seizure drugs such as gabapentin, carbamazepine and pregabalin may help relieve nerve pain, but side effects include dizziness, drowsiness and swelling, as affirmed by Mayo Clinic. Doctors may also prescribe tricyclic antidepressant medications, such as desipramine, nortriptyline, imipramine and amitriptyline, that interfere with chemical processes in the brain related to pain, relieving mild-to-moderate nerve pain. A lidocaine patch is a topical medication applied to the affected site, and it has very few side effects. Although opioids are known to soothe nerve pain, they may produce serious side effects, including headaches, drowsiness and addiction.