Since there is no cure for neuropathy, the goal of the treatment is to manage the condition causing the neuropathy. Researchers believe that if the underlying cause is corrected, the neuropathy can improve on its own. Another goal of treatment is to relieve the painful symptoms.
Doctors have many tools at their disposal to help relieve the painful symptoms of neuropathy. Everything from over-the-counter pain relievers to pain patches.
Medication for Neuropathy
Mild neuropathy symptoms may be easily relieved by over-the-counter pain medications. For more severe symptoms, doctors can prescribe prescription pain relievers. Common medications classes that are used include opiate medications. However, opiate containing medications, such as codeine, can lead to dependence and should only be used under the care of a doctor.
Anti-seizure medications are also said to be helpful for the painful symptoms of neuropathy. These medications were initially used to treat epilepsy, but are now also prescribed for nerve pain. Anti-seizure medications include meds and Topamax. These medications can have limited side effects such as drowsiness and dizziness.
Doctors may also suggest a cream that contains capsaicin. Capsaicin is a substance that is naturally found in hot peppers. Sufferers have seen modest improvements in peripheral neuropathy symptoms. This cream usually feels warm and can take time to gradually become used to it and experience pain relief. This cream is usually suggested along with other treatments.
Doctors will also sometimes prescribe pain patches. These patches are called numbing cream patches due to the topical anesthetic that they contain. The patch is to be applied to the area where the pain is most severe. In most cases, up to four patches can be used each day. The only reported side effect to the numbing cream patches is a rash at the site of the patch.
Another common medication that is used to help with the nerve pain that neuropathy patients experience is antidepressants. Usually, doctors will prescribe tricyclic antidepressants like Aventyl. These medications were originally created to treat depression. However, these medications have been found to help relieve pain because they can interfere with chemical processes in the brain and spinal cord that cause neuropathy patients to feel pain. Side effects of tricyclic antidepressants include nausea, drowsiness, dizziness and decreased appetite.
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