Drug offers new pain management therapy for diabetics

October 30, 2012, University of Calgary

A study from the University of Calgary's Hotchkiss Brain Institute shows there is evidence to support a new drug therapy called nabilone to treat diabetic neuropathy, or nerve pain. Researchers enrolled 60 patients with diabetic neuropathy in a 12-week placebo controlled clinical study. At the end of the study, patients reported less pain and an improvement in sleep and anxiety when taking nabilone as compared to the placebo.

"This is a good option to help treat due to diabetes, with very few side effects," says Dr. Cory Toth, a neurologist and the study's lead researcher. Toth is a member of the University of Calgary's Hotchkiss Brain Institute, Department of Clinical Neurosciences and is the research director of the Calgary Chronic Pain Centre Clinic.

The medication used in the study has the generic name nabilone, and is currently used in Canada to treat nausea in . This study gives doctors more evidence to support its prescription for treating neuropathy pain in diabetics. Nabilone is a synthetic , which mimics some of the chemical compounds of cannabis, or marijuana. It is approved for use by Health Canada and the FDA.

"This study is a further demonstration of the potential medical benefits of cannabinoids in a difficult pain condition. Dr. Toth and his team have conducted a solid trial which, although small, validates our clinical experience. This study gives physicians support to consider further options in treating this devastating chronic pain disorder," says Dr. Mark Ware, Associate Professor at the McGill University Health Centre.

is exploding at epidemic rates over the world, and Canada is no exception. Recent studies show that type 2 diabetes is present in close to 10 per cent of Canadian adults and growing at faster than predicted rates.

is damage caused to the nerves, which results in numbness, tingling, burning and pain. About half of all diabetics suffer from diabetic neuropathy, and about half of this group experiences extreme pain, sleep disturbances, and difficulties walking.

Leslie Bonenfant knows firsthand the pain associated with diabetic neuropathy. She was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes five years ago. Having participated in the study, she experienced positive results, "My pain was so severe that I could barely walk a block. After taking nabilone I can manage my pain and I can function day to day," say says.

The study was published in the October issue of the medical journal Pain.

Explore further: AAN issues new guideline on best treatments for diabetic nerve pain

Related Stories

AAN issues new guideline on best treatments for diabetic nerve pain

April 11, 2011
The American Academy of Neurology has issued a new guideline on the most effective treatments for diabetic nerve pain, the burning or tingling pain in the hands and feet that affects millions of people with diabetes. The ...

Antidepressant helps relieve pain from chemotherapy, study finds

June 4, 2012
The antidepressant drug duloxetine, known commercially as Cymbalta, helped relieve painful tingling feelings caused by chemotherapy in 59 percent of patients, a new study finds. This is the first clinical trial to find an ...

Potential biomarker emerging for diabetic neuropathy

June 13, 2012
An emerging biomarker may eventually lead to new approaches for treating diabetics at risk of developing nerve damage, UNSW researchers have found.

Study discovers unexpected source of diabetic neuropathy pain

May 15, 2012
Nearly half of all diabetics suffer from neuropathic pain, an intractable, agonizing and still mysterious companion of the disease. Now Yale researchers have identified an unexpected source of the pain and a potential target ...

Various metabolic risk factors could be linked to diabetes-related pain with major implications for treatment

May 17, 2012
Around 1 in 50 people in the general population and 1 in 6 of those aged over 40 years experience neuropathy (damage to the nerves of the peripheral nervous system), which can cause numbness, tingling, pain, or weakness. ...

Recommended for you

Does diabetes damage brain health?

December 14, 2018
(HealthDay)—Diabetes has been tied to a number of complications such as kidney disease, but new research has found that older people with type 2 diabetes can also have more difficulties with thinking and memory.

Researchers study abnormal blood glucose levels of discharged patients

December 14, 2018
University of Minnesota Medical School researchers decided to delve into an area where little data currently exists. They wanted to know what happens after these patients with abnormal blood glucose measurements are discharged? ...

Researchers zero in on potential therapeutic target for diabetes, associated diseases

December 14, 2018
A recent study led by researchers in Texas A&M University's department of nutrition and food science shows how a novel regulatory mechanism serves as an important biomarker for the development of diabetes, as well as a potential ...

Researchers have found that incidence of heart failure was around two-fold higher in people with diabetes

December 11, 2018
Researchers have found that incidence of heart failure was around two-fold higher in people with diabetes.

Millions of low-risk people with diabetes may be testing their blood sugar too often

December 10, 2018
For people with Type 2 diabetes, the task of testing their blood sugar with a fingertip prick and a drop of blood on a special strip of paper becomes part of everyday life.

Very low calorie diets trialled by NHS to tackle diabetes

December 7, 2018
Hundreds of thousands of people will receive NHS help to battle obesity and type 2 diabetes under radical action set out by Simon Stevens, Chief Executive of NHS England.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.