Accupuncture and Neuropathy
Jun 19, 2003
Is there any evidence to indicate whether accupuncture might be helpful in dealing with AIDS-related neuropathy?
Response from Dr. Conway
Peripheral neuropathy is a most troubling complication of HIV infection or its therapy. With respect to antiretroviral drugs, it is most often associated with didanosine or stavudine, and may be worse if both of these drugs are used together. If you are on one or both of these agents, you may wish to discuss possible alternatives with your doctor.
Neuropathy can also occur in the absence of any treatment for HIV. Symptomatic relief can be problematic, and narcotic analgesics should only be used as a last resort, in my opinion. Over-the-counter medications (such as acetominophen or non-steroidal agents) can be tried and may work. The two other types of medications that have produced good results are tricyclic antidepressants (such as amitryptiline) or gabapentin. I would place acupuncture up there with these agents in terms of its potential efficacy, BUT ONLY IF IT IS DONE BY A LICENSED, EXPERIENCED PRACTITIONER. Especially out here on the West Coast of Canada, we are fortunate to have such practitioners, and good results have often been obtained.
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