The most common of the neuropathies associated with diabetes mellitus, diabetic sensorimotor polyneuropathy (DSPN) is a syndrome of diffuse, length-dependent, symmetric nerve dysfunction. The condition is linked with substantial morbidity, frequent healthcare utilization, and compromised quality of life due to related discomfort. Correspondingly, antidepressants, anticonvulsants, and opioids are regularly prescribed with the goal of pain control. However, the agents rarely provide complete pain relief and fail to address progression of the disorder. Whereas strict blood glucose control can slow the onset and worsening of DSPN, near-normoglycemia is not easily attainable. Evidence implicating oxidative processes in the pathogenesis of DSPN offers one potentially important therapeutic avenue. Due to its properties as a potent antioxidant, alpha lipoic acid (ALA) could mitigate the development of DSPN and attenuate resultant symptoms and signs. Approved for treatment of DSPN in Germany, the agent is not more widely used due to uncertainty about its efficacy and reported adverse effects. Here we review the effectiveness and tolerability of ALA in the treatment of symptomatic DSPN.
Rutkove, S., & McIlduff. (2011). Critical appraisal of the use of alpha lipoic acid (thioctic acid) in the treatment of symptomatic diabetic polyneuropathy. Therapeutics and Clinical Risk Management, 377. https://doi.org/10.2147/tcrm.s11325