Alcohol (Ethanol) Related Neuropathy Treatment & Management

Updated: Sep 07, 2021
  • Author: Danette C Taylor, DO, MS, FACN; Chief Editor: Stephen A Berman, MD, PhD, MBA  more...
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Medical Care

Treatment is directed toward stopping further damage to the peripheral nerves and returning to normal functioning. These can be achieved by alcohol abstinence, a nutritionally balanced diet supplemented by all B vitamins, and rehabilitation. However, in the setting of ongoing ethanol use, vitamin supplementation alone has not been convincingly shown to be sufficient for improvement in most patients.

While alcohol-related peripheral neuropathy (ALN) may not be completely reversed, there are many different options to treat the paresthesias and dysesthesias of peripheral neuropathy.

When patients are first diagnosed with ALN, appropriate care to prevent alcohol withdrawl symptoms should be given. 

According to Dina et al, adrenal medullectomy and administration of glucocorticoid receptor antagonist mifepristone (RU 38486) prevented and reversed a model of painful peripheral neuropathy in alcohol binge-drinking rats. Their results suggest a convergence of the effects of mediators of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis and the sympathoadrenal-stress axis on sensory neurons in the induction and maintenance of alcohol-induced painful peripheral neuropathy. [19]