Drug offers new pain management therapy for diabetics

October 30, 2012

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

Personalized blood sugar goals can save diabetes patients thousands

December 11, 2017
A cost analysis by researchers at the University of Chicago Medicine shows treatment plans that set individualized blood sugar goals for diabetes patients, tailored to their age and health history, can save $13,546 in health ...

Kidney disease increases risk of diabetes, study shows

December 11, 2017
Diabetes is known to increase a person's risk of kidney disease. Now, a new study from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis suggests that the converse also is true: Kidney dysfunction increases the risk of ...

Type 2 diabetes is not for life

December 5, 2017
Almost half of the patients with Type 2 diabetes supported by their GPs on a weight loss programme were able to reverse their diabetes in a year, a study has found.

Skipping breakfast disrupts 'clock genes' that regulate body weight

November 30, 2017
Irregular eating habits such as skipping breakfast are often associated with obesity, type 2 diabetes, hypertension and cardiovascular disease, but the precise impact of meal times on the body's internal clock has been less ...

Type 2 diabetes has hepatic origins

November 28, 2017
Affecting as many as 650 million people worldwide, obesity has become one of the most serious global health issues. Among its detrimental effects, it increases the risk of developing metabolic conditions, and primarily type ...

Critical link between obesity and diabetes has been identified

November 28, 2017
UT Southwestern researchers have identified a major mechanism by which obesity causes type 2 diabetes, which is a common complication of being overweight that afflicts more than 30 million Americans and over 400 million ...

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.