Recommendations for Neuromodulation in Diabetic Neuropathic Pain

Zachary T. Olmsted, Amir Hadanny, Anthony M. Marchese, Marisa DiMarzio, Olga Khazen, Charles Argoff, Vishad Sukul, Julie G. Pilitsis

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6 Scopus citations


Over 50% of the 34 million people who suffer from diabetes mellitus (DM) are affected by diabetic neuropathy. Painful diabetic neuropathy (PDN) impacts 40–50% of that group (8.5 million patients) and is associated with a significant source of disability and economic burden. Though new neuromodulation options have been successful in recent clinical trials (NCT03228420), still there are many barriers that restrict patients from access to these therapies. We seek to examine our tertiary care center (Albany Medical Center, NY, USA) experience with PDN management by leveraging our clinical database to assess patient referral patterns and utilization of neuromodulation. We identified all patients with a diagnosis of diabetes type 1 (CODE: E10.xx) or diabetes type 2 (CODE: E11.xx) AND neuralgia/neuropathic pain (CODE: M79.2) or neuropathy (CODE: G90.09) or chronic pain (CODE: G89.4) or limb pain (CODE: M79.6) OR diabetic neuropathy (CODE: E11.4) who saw endocrinology, neurology, and/or neurosurgery from January 1, 2019, to December 31, 2019. We then determined which patients had received pain medications and/or neuromodulation to divide the cohort into three groups: no treatment, conservative treatment, and neuromodulation treatment. The cohorts were compared with chi-square or one-way ANOVA with multiple comparisons to analyze the differences. A total of 2,635 PDN patients were identified, of which 700 received no treatment for PDN, 1,906 received medication(s), and 29 received neuromodulation (intrathecal therapy, spinal cord stimulation, or dorsal root ganglion stimulation). The patients who received pain medications for PDN visited neurology more often than the pain specialists. Of the patients that received neuromodulation, 24 had seen neurology, 6 neurology pain, and 3 anesthesia pain. They averaged 2.78 pain medications prior to implant. Approximately 41% of the patients in the conservative management group were prescribed three or more medications. Of the 1,935 treated patients, only 1.5% of the patients received neuromodulation. The patients on three or more pain medications without symptomatic relief may be potential candidates for neuromodulation. An opportunity, therefore, exists to educate providers on the benefits of neuromodulation procedures.

Original languageEnglish
Article number726308
JournalFrontiers in Pain Research
StatePublished - 2021
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
Copyright © 2021 Olmsted, Hadanny, Marchese, DiMarzio, Khazen, Argoff, Sukul and Pilitsis.


  • diabetes mellitus
  • neuromodulation
  • neuropathic pain
  • pain management
  • pain referral
  • painful diabetic neuropathy
  • pharmacotherapy


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