Antioxidant Treatment

spilled bottle of green pillsA recent study summarized evidence that antioxidant treatment may be able to combat diabetic neuropathy.

While using a holistic approach may sound appealing, so far no self-treatment methods have been proven to be effective in curing the disease or its effects.

One of main barriers arises from the fact any supplement taken orally has to go through the digestive system to reach its target, such as the nerve cells or feet. Most of the time only a fraction, if any, of the ingested material survives the journey.

That said, some of following compounds have shown promise in research labs.

Alpha-lipoic acid (ALA) seems the most promising antioxidant in clinical trials. The use of ALA (600 mg/day) has even been licensed to use in Germany for treatment of symptomatic diabetic neuropathy.

Vitamins A, C, and E have been shown to detoxify free radicals directly and interact with recycling processes to create reduced forms of the vitamins that could be used as possible supplemental therapies. However these been around for a long time without conclusive results.

Flavonoids compose the largest and the most important group of polyphenolic compounds in plants and are found in fruits, vegetables, grains, bark, roots, stems, flowers, tea, and wine. Laboratory studies hinted they possess antioxidant activities that protect the subjects against diabetic neuropathy.

Aminoguanidine, aspirin and benfotiamine are known for their antioxidant properties through the inhibition of AGE (advanced glycated end-products) formation. They limit the interactions which might aggravate oxidative stress damage and relieve some the diabetic neuropathy damage.

Toxic Neuropathy Drugs

“There is a daunting list of toxins that can affect the peripheral nervous system,” according to a study published by Dr. Hani Kusiaf of the Department of Neurology at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota.

A host of potentially toxic neuropathy and myopathy drugs are unintentionally being released from research laboratories around the world, because the effects are only seen after prolonged use by the subjects.

toxic neuropathy molecule

Some of the reported culprits include:

  • statins
    “… long-term treatment with statins caused a clinically silent but still definite damage to peripheral nerves when the treatment lasts longer than 2 years.”
  • daptomycin
    (Cubicin) Leaflet by Novartis advises, “Physicians should be alert to signs and symptoms of peripheral neuropathy in patients receiving Cubicin.”
  • imatinib
    “Peripheral neuropathy as an adverse effect of imatinib therapy.”
  • hydroxychloroquine (HCQ)
    “Most cases manifest as insidious onset proximal myopathy that may be associated with peripheral neuropathy and cardiac myotoxicity.”
  • highly active antiretroviral therapy (NTRIs)
    “Patients treated with nucleoside analogue reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NRTIs) develop a varying degree of myopathy or neuropathy after long-term therapy.”
  • tandutinib
    “… tandutinib is toxic to the neuromuscular junction.”
  • bortezomib
    “Peripheral neuropathy is a significant toxicity of bortezomib, requiring dose modification and potential changes in the treatment plan when it occurs.”
  • angel’s trumpet
    “This case of acute motor axonal neuropathy type Guillain-Barré syndrome is novel in that the cause was established as ingestion of a toxic solanaceous plant, angel’s trumpet…”
  • cisplatin (cancer-fighting platinum agent)
    “…cisplatin is the most neurotoxic, inducing mainly sensory neuropathy of the upper and lower extremities.”
  • tumor necrosis factor α antagonists
    “Demyelinating neuropathy is a rare adverse event of anti–TNF-α therapy.”
  • cobalt-chromium
    “… severe auditory and optic nerve toxicity in patients exposed to an abnormal release of cobalt and chromium from damaged hip prostheses.”
  • ixabepilone
    “Peripheral neuropathy (PN), associated with ixabepilone treatment, is usually mild to moderate, predominantly sensory and cumulative.”
  • aerosolised porcine neural tissue
    “The neurological disorder described is autoimmune in origin and is related to occupational exposure to multiple aerosolised porcine brain tissue antigens.”

While these toxic neuropathic agents only show their true colors currently under specific circumstances, neuropathy and myopathy are being recognized as definite effects from the body being subjected to these novel and unnatural chemicals.

As many of these substances are tested only a limited population, exposure to a greater amount of people may lead to an exponentially greater number of reported adverse reactions, such as neuropathies and myopathies, in the future.

Alemtuzumab Approved For Multiple Sclerosis

The FDA has approved alemtuzumab (Lemtrada) as a treatment for patients with multiple sclerosis.

alemtuzumab iv dripThe FDA was careful to cite that use of alemtuzumab was a high-risk option since the drug may cause an increased risk for malignancies, including thyroid cancer, melanoma, lymphoproliferative disorders, neuropathy, which in some instances proved fatal.

The medication is also marketed as Campath, which was used as a single agent for the treatment of B-cell chronic lymphocytic leukemia (B-CLL). However serious, including fatal, pancytopenia/marrow hypoplasia, autoimmune idiopathic thrombocytopenia, and autoimmune hemolytic anemia occured in patients receiving Campath. Effective September 4, 2012 it was no longer available commercially, but provided through the Campath Distribution Program free of charge.

A new study performed in the UK downplayed its severe side effects with a generally favorable conclusion of “Alemtuzumab is associated with disease stabilisation in the majority of patients with highly active RRMS over an average seven-year follow-up.”

Another paper published in 2012 claimed, “Through extended follow-up, alemtuzumab remained significantly more efficacious than IFNβ-1a, with a safety profile consistent with previous reports.”

After the FDA initially rejected the approval of alemtuzumab, lobbying by Genzyme finally succeeded in a reversal of the United States position because of its use in over 30 countries around the world including Canada, Australia, Scotland, Argentina, and the entire European Union. U.S. patients could easily go to another country for treatment.