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Efficacy and Safety of -Lipoic Acid Supplementation in the Treatment of Symptomatic Diabetic Neuropathy *

Purpose

The purpose of this article is to review current evidence available for -lipoic acid (ALA) and its ability to improve symptoms of peripheral diabetic neuropathy (PDN).

Methods

This article searched MEDLINE from 1966 to November 2005 to identify clinical trials that supplemented ALA to individuals with type 1 or type 2 diabetes and positive sensory symptoms of PDN. Clinical trials to be included in this review met specific criteria of randomization, double masking, and placebo-controlled design.

Results

The search results produced 5 clinical trials that met the prerequisites for this review. ALA appears to improve neuropathic symptoms and deficits when administered via parenteral supplementation over a 3-week period. Oral treatment with ALA appears to have more conflicting data whether it improves sensory symptoms or just neuropathic deficits alone. An oral regimen of ALA and optimal length of treatment remains unclear. Both parenteral and up to a 2-year time period of oral supplementation of ALA appears to be safe without affecting glycemic control.

Conclusions

Based on these results, ALA should be considered as a treatment option for patients with PDN. When discussing supplementation with patients, it is important to discuss potential side effects; vitamin, mineral, and drug interactions; and current evidence available regarding efficacy.

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As with any procedure, there could be pain or other substantial risks involved. These concerns should be discussed with your health care provider prior to any treatment so that you have proper informed consent and understand that there are no guarantees to healing.

THE INFORMATION IN THIS WEBSITE IS OFFERED FOR GENERAL EDUCATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY AND DOES NOT IMPLY OR GIVE MEDICAL ADVICE. No Doctor/Patient relationship shall be deemed to have arisen simply by reading the information contained on these pages, and you should consult with your personal physician/care giver regarding your medical treatment before undergoing any sort of treatment or therapy.

Published on 02-12-2010
Authors: Tricia Stewart Foster, MS, RD, LDN, BC-ADM, CDE
Source: The Diabetes Educator, Vol. 33, No. 1, 111-117 (2007)