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Neuropathy

Spring 1999

A note from TheBody.com: Since this article was written, the HIV pandemic has changed, as has our understanding of HIV/AIDS and its treatment. As a result, parts of this article may be outdated. Please keep this in mind, and be sure to visit other parts of our site for more recent information!

We have heard good reports about a simple prevention or treatment regimen for neuropathy. It involves calcium, magnesium, and vitamin B6. It helps protect the nerves and prevent or treat peripheral neuropathy (usually felt as pain or numbness in the hands or feet). Neuropathy can be caused by some drugs used in AIDS treatment, most often the "d" drugs (for example d4t or ddi). This nutritional treatment has not been proven to work, but we've heard from physicians and patients who believe it probably does. However, dosing is not agreed upon.


Healing HIV

Jon Kaiser, M.D., in his Book Healing HIV in the chapter "Preventing and Treating Neuropathy," suggests calcium 500 mg, magnesium 250 mg, and vitamin B6 100 mg, taken twice a day; he recommends this regimen whenever he prescribes d4t. If the neuropathy is already present, he increases the dose of vitamin B6 to 200 mg twice a day. He also uses acupuncture for relief of neuropathy.

Dr. Kaiser noted that while improvement can occur quickly, in some cases it may take several months before there is a noticeable change.

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Acupuncture

Recently we spoke with another doctor. She recommends more calcium and magnesium, but less vitamin B6-1000mg of calcium and 500mg of magnesium twice a day (once a day may work), but only 100 mg of vitamin B6 once per day, even if the neuropathy has already occurred. She has not seen improvement from increasing the B6. She highly recommends acupuncture.

It may also be necessary to discontinue or reduce the dose of the drug or drugs believed to be causing the problem. If the neuropathy is allowed to become severe, it can cause lasting nerve damage.

Patients should also be aware that large overdoses of vitamin B6 (greater than 1,000 mg per day) can actually cause neuropathy in some cases.


A note from TheBody.com: Since this article was written, the HIV pandemic has changed, as has our understanding of HIV/AIDS and its treatment. As a result, parts of this article may be outdated. Please keep this in mind, and be sure to visit other parts of our site for more recent information!



  
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This article was provided by Women Alive. It is a part of the publication Women Alive Newsletter.
 
See Also
Neurological Complications of AIDS Fact Sheet
More on Neuropathy

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