The NHS could be set to revolutionise diabetes care after results from the largest and longest ever neuropathic pain trial found a way to maximise patient health outcomes.
As part of the OPTION-DM trial, researchers from Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust investigated the optimal treatment pathway for patients suffering from diabetic peripheral neuropathic pain (DPNP).
DPNP is caused by a specific type of nerve damage and can result in individuals experiencing intense pain in their feet, legs and hands. Such pain is said to be akin to a debilitating and excruciating burning or electric shock-like sensation.
As a result, the quarter of the diabetes patients that suffer from the pain are prone to anxiety, sleep deprivation, depression, and a poor quality of life in general.
In view of fixing this, researchers evaluated the four drugs currently recommended by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence for DPNP, in an attempt to ascertain which drug is best, and if they should be combined.
Findings from the trial showed that the four drugs performed at a similar level with all providing significant pain relief for patients – however – the trial also indicated that a combination of the drugs led to substantially bigger pain reduction and an improve quality of life for the patients in general.
Research Director of Diabetes and Endocrinology at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Professor Solomon Tesfaye said: “This trial brings focus on the plight of people who suffer from painful neuropathy and will lead to increased awareness and improved treatment for patients.
“Despite large variations in the cost and availability of each medication, it is reassuring that all three are similar in their effectiveness for relieving pain and so this study has great potential to influence treatment guidelines for DPNP, not only in the UK, but across the world. I would like to thank all the patients who participated in this long and demanding trial.”
Findings from the trial, which studied 130 participants across 13 UK centres for a 51-week period, are hoped to shape future treatment guidelines and enhance health outcomes.
More information on the trial is available here.