Treating Diabetic Neuropathy with Qutenza

Jun 01, 2023
Treating Diabetic Neuropathy with Qutenza
If you’ve been diagnosed with diabetes, you’ve likely been warned about developing diabetic neuropathy. This painful nerve damage can cause significant pain and problems with mobility. Read about the benefits of treating neuropathy pain with Qutenza.

Diabetic neuropathy is a common complication of diabetes that affects millions of people in the United States. One type is peripheral neuropathy, which damages sensory nerves in the feet and legs, causing symptoms that range from severe burning pain to numbness, tingling, and heightened sensitivity to even light touch.

If left untreated, diabetic neuropathy can lead to severe complications, such as foot ulcers, infections, and limb amputation. Fortunately, several treatments are available to help manage the symptoms of diabetic neuropathy, including Qutenza™.

Our board-certified podiatrists at Kyrou Podiatry Associates provide advanced podiatric services to people of all ages from five locations in New York. One of their many specialties includes diabetic foot care, focused on identifying and preventing common foot problems associated with diabetes.

Read why our team may recommend Qutenza for treating diabetic peripheral neuropathy.

What causes diabetic neuropathy?

Diabetes affects your body's ability to process glucose (sugar) and regulate blood sugar levels. Persistently elevated blood sugar damages nerves and compromises blood vessel health, leading to diabetic neuropathy.

Nerves frequently damaged by poorly managed diabetes include the peripheral nerves. These tiny nerve fibers exist outside the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord) and control sensation, muscle movement, and autonomic functions like heart rate and digestion.

Symptoms of diabetic neuropathy often begin in the feet and include altered sensation, such as numbness versus electric-shock-type pain that may come and go initially and then become persistent as the condition worsens.

Neuropathy can also interfere with mobility by causing problems with muscle weakness and balance. It also reduces circulatory health and increases your risk of fungal or bacterial infections of the nails and skin.

What is Qutenza?

Qutenza is a topical prescription medication absorbed through the skin that contains capsaicin, the active ingredient that makes chili peppers hot. Capsaicin is also a natural pain reliever that blocks the transmission of pain signals from nerves to the brain.

When applied topically, Qutenza can help reduce pain and discomfort associated with diabetic peripheral neuropathy for up to three months. Qutenza must be administered via a patch by your Kyrou Podiatry specialist and left in place for about 30 minutes. Your specialist then removes the patch and cleanses the area with soap and water to remove any remaining capsaicin.

Topical anesthetic applied before the treatment prevents burning discomfort at the patch site. You may also notice redness once your specialist removes the patch(es), but this should dissipate quickly.

What other treatments are available for diabetic neuropathy?

To relieve symptoms associated with peripheral neuropathy, in addition to Qutenza, your Kyrou Associates professional may recommend:

  • Oral medications to relieve nerve pain
  • Physical therapy to improve muscle strength and flexibility
  • Routine diabetic foot care to monitor for concerning changes
  • Exercises to improve balance and coordination
  • Appropriate footwear
  • Effective diabetes management
  • Improved diet, smoking cessation, and other healthy habits that enhance blood flow

Your specialist also provides guidance for daily foot care routines that help you spot early warning signs of toenail fungus, ingrown nails, calluses, skin breakdown, and other issues that may affect your overall skin and nerve health.

Schedule an evaluation today by calling the Kyrou Podiatry Associates office or requesting an appointment online.