Effect of α-lipoic acid on symptoms and quality of life in patients with painful diabetic neuropathy

J Int Med Res. 2018 May;46(5):1779-1790. doi: 10.1177/0300060518756540. Epub 2018 Mar 8.


Objective To examine the effect of α-lipoic acid on neuropathic symptoms in patients with diabetic neuropathy (DN). Methods Patients with painful DN were treated with 600 mg/day α-lipoic acid, orally, for 40 days. Neuropathy Symptom Score (NSS), Subjective Peripheral Neuropathy Screen Questionnaire (SPNSQ) and douleur neuropathique (DN)4 questionnaire scores were assessed at baseline and day 40. Quality-of-life treatment effects were assessed by Brief Pain Inventory (BPI), Neuropathic Pain Symptom Inventory (NPSI) and Sheehan Disability Scale (SDS). Changes in body weight, arterial blood pressure, fasting serum glucose and lipids were also assessed. Results Out of 72 patients included, significant reductions in neuropathic symptoms were shown by reduced NSS, SPNSQ and DN4 scores at day 40 versus baseline. BPI, NPSI, and SDS in terms of work disability, social life disability, and family life disability scores were also significantly reduced. Moreover, 50% of patients rated their health condition as 'very much better' or 'much better' following α-lipoic acid administration. Fasting triglyceride levels were reduced, but no difference was found in body weight, blood pressure, fasting glucose, or other lipids at day 40 versus baseline. Conclusions A-lipoic acid administration was associated with reduced neuropathic symptoms and triglycerides, and improved quality of life.

Keywords: A-lipoic acid; Diabetes mellitus; Diabetic neuropathy; Neuropathic symptoms; Painful diabetic neuropathy; Quality of life.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Demography
  • Diabetic Neuropathies / complications*
  • Diabetic Neuropathies / drug therapy*
  • Disability Evaluation
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Neuralgia / complications*
  • Neuralgia / drug therapy*
  • Quality of Life*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Thioctic Acid / administration & dosage
  • Thioctic Acid / pharmacology
  • Thioctic Acid / therapeutic use*


  • Thioctic Acid