AAN: Spinal Cord Stimulation Beneficial for Diabetic Neuropathy

Durable pain relief and neurological improvement observed, with most of benefit retained at 24 months
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Medically Reviewed By:
Meeta Shah, M.D.

WEDNESDAY, March 1, 2023 (HealthDay News) -- Spinal cord stimulation (SCS) provides pain relief and neurological improvement for patients with painful diabetic neuropathy (PDN), according to a study scheduled for presentation at the upcoming annual meeting of the American Academy of Neurology, to be held from April 22 to 27 in Boston.

Erika Petersen, M.D., from the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences in Little Rock, and colleagues examined the long-term safety and effectiveness of 10 kHz SCS for treatment of PDN. A total of 216 patients with symptoms of 12 months or longer, refractory to medications, were randomly assigned to receive 10 kHz SCS plus conventional medical management (CMM) or CMM alone, with optional crossover at six months.

The researchers found that at six months, patients receiving 10 kHz SCS experienced an average pain relief of 76 percent compared with a 2 percent increase in pain for patients receiving CMM alone. No patients receiving 10 kHz SCS crossed over to CMM at six months, while 93 percent of eligible CMM patients crossed over to 10 kHz SCS. SCS-related pain relief was durable, with average pain relief of 80 percent at 24 months for patients receiving 10 kHz SCS. Clinician-assessed neurological improvements were seen in 62 and 3 percent of patients in the SCS and CMM arms, respectively, at six months; improvements were durable, with improvement seen at 24 months for 66 percent of patients receiving SCS.

"This study demonstrates that high-frequency stimulation provides long-term pain relief with acceptable safety," Petersen said in a statement. "The improvements in motor function, sensation, and reflexes suggest that this therapy could have disease-modifying potential."

Two authors were employees of Nevro Corp., which funded the study.

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