Treatment of diabetic neuropathy with gamma-linolenic acid. The gamma-Linolenic Acid Multicenter Trial Group

Diabetes Care. 1993 Jan;16(1):8-15. doi: 10.2337/diacare.16.1.8.


Objective: To compare the effects of placebo and GLA on the course of mild diabetic neuropathy over 1 yr.

Research design and methods: We entered 111 patients with mild diabetic neuropathy from seven centers into a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled parallel study of GLA at a dose of 480 mg/day. MNCV, SNAP, CMAP, hot and cold thresholds, sensation, tendon reflexes, and muscle strength were assessed by standard tests in upper and lower limbs.

Results: For all 16 parameters, the change over 1 yr in response to GLA was more favorable than the change with placebo, and for 13 parameters, the difference was statistically significant. Sex, age, and type of diabetes did not influence the result, but treatment was more effective in relatively well-controlled than in poorly-controlled diabetic patients.

Conclusions: GLA had a beneficial effect on the course of diabetic neuropathy.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Analysis of Variance
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal / therapeutic use*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / physiopathology
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / physiopathology
  • Diabetic Neuropathies / drug therapy*
  • Diabetic Neuropathies / physiopathology
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Linolenic Acids / adverse effects
  • Linolenic Acids / therapeutic use*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Motor Neurons / drug effects
  • Motor Neurons / physiology
  • Neural Conduction / drug effects
  • Neurologic Examination
  • Neurons, Afferent / drug effects
  • Neurons, Afferent / physiology
  • Reflex
  • gamma-Linolenic Acid


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal
  • Linolenic Acids
  • gamma-Linolenic Acid