By David Caraway, M.D., Ph.D., Chief Medical Officer of Nevro Corp.
A diabetes diagnosis can feel like taking on a round-the-clock job – from which you receive no benefits, vacations, or breaks. Managing diabetes can take an enormous physical, mental, social, and financial toll. For people who develop complications of the condition, such as painful diabetic neuropathy (PDN), finding effective relief can feel like another endless task.
About 1 in 10 Americans have diabetes, and millions will struggle with PDN during their lifetime. People with PDN experience a wide range of symptoms that typically affect the legs and feet. Pain can be described as burning, freezing, shooting, stabbing, deep aches, hypersensitivity, and “electric shock” sensations. In my work, I’ve heard from my patients time and again that the pain from diabetic neuropathy impacted so many aspects of their lives. Routine activities like spending time with family, gardening, walking the dog, and even getting a full night’s sleep could not be accomplished without experiencing intense pain.
Those with PDN have trouble achieving effective relief for a variety of reasons, according to a patient panel by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Between the trial and error of therapy regimens, weighing the benefits and poor side effects of medications, and trying treatments that simply don’t provide the needed relief, it’s easy to understand how someone battling chronic pain caused by PDN over an extended period may be feeling hopeless after pursuing traditional treatments.
The good news for people with PDN is that additional treatment options are available. In July 2021, the first spinal cord stimulation (SCS) system was approved by the FDA with a specific indication to treat PDN, Nevro HFX*. Nevro HFX is a non-drug alternative to treat pain related to diabetic neuropathy. HFX includes a small device that works inside your body using very mild, imperceptible electrical pulses to disrupt pain signals before they can reach the brain.
And, unlike other available therapies, HFX uses a proprietary, high-frequency (10kHz) waveform to help people with PDN experience long-term relief. Other systems rely on distracting patients from their pain using a tingling sensation known as paresthesia – a common symptom of PDN on its own – whereas HFX relieves pain and eliminates the pins and needles sensation.
HFX is also backed by unrivaled clinical research. Data published in Diabetes Care from the largest-ever randomized controlled trial to evaluate SCS as a treatment for PDN found that:
- HFX provides incredible pain relief. 86% of participants reported pain relief greater than 50% after 12 months with the therapy, and participants’ average pain relief reached just over 77%.
- HFX can improve neurological function. 68% of participants experienced neurological improvements – meaning there was improved sensation, reflexes, and motor strength in patients’ legs. No other SCS has shown these improvements.
- HFX is a safe alternative to conventional treatments. The study’s authors concluded that people with PDN who have experienced resistance to traditional treatment options could safely and effectively be treated with high-frequency SCS.
Furthermore, Nevro matches each HFX patient with a dedicated HFX Coach who provides remote, individualized support every step of the way to ensure long-term success. HFX also enables real-time, data-informed care that can share your progress with your care team.
While managing diabetes can feel like a full-time job, living with complications like PDN doesn’t have to feel so burdensome. New technologies like HFX for the treatment of PDN can provide the end-to-end support you need to help you get back to doing what you love.
*HFX is a comprehensive solution that includes a Nevro Spinal Cord Stimulation (SCS) system and support services for the treatment of chronic pain, including painful diabetic neuropathy, programmed with a frequency of 10 kHz.