Treatment of Painful Diabetic Polyneuropathy

Patient Guidance

Publication Date: December 27, 2021
Last Updated: April 11, 2022



  • This patient guideline summarizes key takeaways from the current American Academy of Neurology (AAN) guidelines for painful diabetic neuropathy.
  • This pocket guide is meant to be used by both patients and their providers to ensure all parties are on the same page throughout the care process.

Painful diabetic neuropathy is common.

  • If you have diabetes, you should discuss nerve pain with your doctor.
  • While painful diabetic neuropathy can have a negative effect on your physical and mental health, there are a number of effective treatment options available to reduce painful diabetic neuropathy.
  • After starting treatment, from time to time, your doctor should check you for pain relief and side effects
  • Opioids should NOT be among the drugs you and your doctor consider for painful diabetic neuropathy because of the high risks of side effects. There are a number of safe and effective nonopioid medications available to help manage your pain.
  • If you are currently taking opioids for pain, you should talk with your health care team about a safe strategy for tapering off and eventually discontinuing use.