People with peripheral neuropathy may experience pain, numbness,
tingling, and other unpleasant sensations. Often the cause cannot
be determined, so the condition must be managed by attempting to
treat the symptoms, especially if one of them is pain.
Unfortunately, conventional painkillers like ibuprofen or aspirin
may not be very effective. The alternatives are off-label
prescriptions of antiseizure medications and tricyclic
antidepressants. The antiseizure drug gabapentin (Neurontin) does
seem to be effective for some people and physicians
prescribe tricyclic antidepressants, such as amitriptyline
(Elavil), desipramine (Norpramin), and nortriptyline (Pamelor).
The side effects can be a serious drawback but they may be a
reasonable trade-off if there's relief for troubling symptoms,
especially pain. Many people with peripheral neuropathy say yoga,
acupuncture, and other somewhat unconventional treatments have
done wonders. Supporting data are scarce, but these alternative
approaches might be worth a try as long as there's little risk of
To continue reading this article, you must login
Subscribe to Harvard Health Online for immediate access to health news and information from Harvard Medical School.