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Can Medications Cause Peripheral Neuropathy?

Peripheral neuropathy: It isn't quite a household name, but this tongue twister of a condition is the name for painful nerve damage that causes numbness, tingling, burning and loss of sensation in the hands and feet of nearly 40 million Americans.

Peripheral neuropathy has many causes, including diabetes, old age, genetics and even some medications. Peripheral neuropathy is common among chemotherapy patients, but you may not be aware that it is also common with some other frequently prescribed medications, too.

"There is growing evidence that medications like statins, anti-dysrhythmics and antibiotics also cause peripheral neuropathy," says Dr. Nathan Weller, who specializes in the treatment of peripheral neuropathy in his Scottsdale, Arizona, clinic.

And this can come as quite a shock to patients who think they're getting better on these medications. Statins, for example, are used for lowering lipids in patients with high cholesterol; anti-dysrhythmics (drugs such as digoxin and lidocaine) are taken for the treatment of heart disease, or more specifically to treat dysrhythmia; and even commonly prescribed antibiotics such as Macrobid have been found to cause peripheral neuropathy.

"It's very scary to think that the medications we take to save our life and restore our wellness could be taking away our good health," says Weller.

So, what's a patient to do? Eschew modern medicine for herbs, or just cross your fingers and hope your health improves on its own? Or should you risk permanent nerve damage that could stop your hands and feet from working the way they should?

"The medications that cause peripheral neuropathy - chemotherapy, statins, anti-dysrhythmics and antibiotics - are all powerful medications that are often prescribed to save your life or at the very least prevent a life-threatening infection from developing," says Weller. "Don't skip them to avoid peripheral neuropathy. The positive of these medications far outweigh the risks. But that doesn't mean if you develop PN you are beholden to modern medicine to treat it, either."

Weller's Arizona clinic, Restore Wellness Center, exclusively treats peripheral neuropathy, but it does so without the highly addictive treatments typically used by doctors to treat peripheral neuropathy. Instead, Weller relies upon more holistic forms of treatment, such as stem cell therapy, physical therapy and even trigger point therapy.

"My advice to you if you are ill is to get better by any means possible, and then deal with any residual problems later," says Weller. "The most important thing will always be your life."

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Wednesday, 14 November 2018

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