Effects of 3-week oral treatment with the antioxidant thioctic acid (alpha-lipoic acid) in symptomatic diabetic polyneuropathy.Diabet Med 1999; 16(12):1040-3DM
To evaluate the efficacy and safety of short-term oral treatment with the antioxidant thioctic acid (TA) on neuropathic symptoms and deficits in patients with Type 2 diabetes mellitus with symptomatic polyneuropathy.
Patients were randomly assigned to oral treatment with 600 mg of TA t.i.d. (n = 12) or placebo (n = 12) for 3 weeks. Neuropathic symptoms (pain, burning, paraesthesiae, and numbness) in the feet were scored at weekly intervals and summarized as a Total Symptom Score (TSS). The Hamburg Pain Adjective List (HPAL) and the Neuropathy Disability Score (NDS) were assessed at baseline and day 19.
At baseline the TSS, HPAL, and NDS were not significantly different between the groups. The TSS in the foot decreased from baseline to day 19 by -3.75 +/- 1.88 points (-47%) in the TA group and by -1.94 +/- 1.50 points (-24%) in the placebo group (P= 0.021 for TA vs. placebo). The total HPAL score decreased from baseline to day 19 by -2.20 +/- 1.65 points (-60%) in the TA group and by -0.96 +/- 1.32 points (-29%) in the placebo group (P = 0.072 for TA vs. placebo). The NDS decreased by -0.27 +/- 0.47 points in the TA group, whereas it slightly increased by +0.18 +/- 0.4 points in the placebo group (P = 0.025 for TA vs. placebo). No differences between the groups were noted regarding the rates of adverse events.
These preliminary findings indicate that oral treatment with 600 mg of TA t.i.d. for 3 weeks may improve symptoms and deficits resulting from polyneuropathy in Type 2 diabetic patients, without causing significant adverse reactions.