How is alcoholic neuropathy treated?
Treatment for alcoholic neuropathy begins with seeking medical care from your health care provider and addressing any alcohol problem you may have.
Vitamin supplementation treatments for alcoholic neuropathy
Vitamin supplementation and medications to reduce pain and discomfort are the mainstays of treatment for alcoholic neuropathy. If you have alcoholic neuropathy, supplementation with the following vitamins may improve symptoms:
- Folic acid
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin B1 (thiamine)
- Vitamin B3 (niacin)
- Vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid)
- Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine)
- Vitamin B12 (cobalamin)
- Vitamin E (tocopherol)
Pain control medications for alcoholic neuropathy
Your health care provider may recommend prescription pain medications. Antiseizure medications that are effective in the treatment of nerve pain resulting from alcoholic neuropathy include:
- Carbamazepine (Tegretol)
- Gabapentin (Neurontin)
- Phenytoin (Dilantin)
- Pregabalin (Lyrica)
- Topiramate (Topamax)
Medications containing opiates, such as codeine, that are physically addicting and may lead to dependence will be prescribed only when other options are not successful in relieving severe pain. Additional options to treat nerve pain associated with alcoholic neuropathy include antidepressants, such as amitriptyline (Elavil), nortriptyline (Pamelor), and duloxetine (Cymbalta).
What you can do to improve your alcoholic neuropathy
In addition to following the treatment plan you and your health care professional determine is best for you, you can improve your symptoms by:
- Changing position to reduce pain
- Following a healthy diet to improve nutrition
- Getting a foot and hand massage
- Maintaining footwear to avoid injuries due to reduced feeling in feet
- Stopping alcohol use
What are the potential complications of alcoholic neuropathy?
Complications of untreated alcoholic neuropathy can be serious, even life threatening in some cases. You can help minimize your risk of serious complications by following the treatment plan you and your health care professional design specifically for you. Complications of alcoholic neuropathy include:
- Impaired coordination
- Permanent loss of sensation
- Permanent nerve damage
- Permanent or chronic pain
Alcoholic neuropathy. PubMed Health. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0001733/. Accessed April 30, 2011.
Alcoholism and alcohol abuse. PubMed Health. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0001940/. Accessed April 30, 2011.
What is alcoholic neuropathy?
Alcoholic neuropathy is a disease associated with chronic alcohol abuse that is characterized by damage to the nervous system. Alcoholic neuropathy can affect nerves anywhere in the body, including the feet, hands, muscles, gastrointestinal system, and reproductive system. Although the exact cause of alcoholic neuropathy is not known, it is thought to result from alcohol-related nerve dama... Read more about alcoholic neuropathy introduction
What are the symptoms of alcoholic neuropathy?
Alcoholic neuropathy may result in a number of symptoms, all of which are related to nerve damage and can vary in intensity. Symptoms of muscle weakness and sensitivity to touch typically develop on both sides of the body. These symptoms occur more often in the legs than in the arms and gradually become worse over time.... Read more about alcoholic neuropathy symptoms
What causes alcoholic neuropathy?
Alcoholic neuropathy is a disease characterized by impaired nerve function caused by excessive drinking of alcohol and nutritional deficits related to alcohol abuse. Individuals who have suffered from alcoholism for 10 or more years or who drink excessive amounts of alcohol regularly have a high risk of alcoholic neuropathy.... Read more about alcoholic neuropathy causes