Multiple pathogenic pathways are involved in diabetic neuropathy and diverse treatments have been tried without success. The aim of this study was to assess the effect of alpha-lipoic acid on skin blood flow in patients with diabetic neuropathy.
We measured skin blood flow in 13 control subjects and 19 patients with diabetic neuropathy using the laser Doppler blood flow technique. Skin blood flow and the extent of skin blood flow changes were compared before and after diabetic patients received 600 mg/day alpha-lipoic acid intravenously for 14 days.
Although no significant differences in absolute values of skin blood flow or in the extent of changes were noted, symptoms were reduced after alpha-lipoic acid treatment.
This study suggests that alpha-lipoic acid, a potent antioxidant, improves symptoms of diabetic neuropathy. Larger studies are needed to determine whether improvements in skin blood flow also occur in patients with diabetic neuropathy.