Sarah Goodwin

Kathi Ovnic
Holly Korschun
June 16, 1999
Atlanta Participants Sought for Research Study Investigating Options for Treating Common Complication of Diabetes

Interested Patients May Be Eligible to Receive Free Medical Screening to Help Diagnose Diabetic Neuropathy and Prevent Future Complications

ATLANTA ­ Local men and women between the ages of 18 and 70 who suffer from diabetes are being sought to take part in a national clinical research trial to test an investigational drug to determine if it can help treat diabetic neuropathy ­ a common complication of both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes. Interested individuals can call (800) 283-7634 for information on how to receive a free screening for diabetic neuropathy and to learn if they qualify to participate in the research study, taking place at Emory University. Patients do not need to have been diagnosed with diabetic neuropathy to participate.

Diabetic neuropathy ­ a nerve disorder and one of the most common complications of diabetes ­ will affect up to 60 percent of the more than 16 million diabetes patients in the U.S. at some time in their life. The condition can be painful and can lead to life-threatening problems, the most serious of which is amputation.

Diabetic neuropathy manifests itself differently for different people. Symptoms may include sharp pain, numbness, tingling or a loss of sensation in the feet or hands. Many diabetic patients are not aware of the symptoms of neuropathy, which increases their risk of injuring themselves and can lead to infection and even amputation. Since the condition can be so difficult to self-diagnose, diabetic patients who call for more information about the clinical research study may be eligible to receive a free medical screening for diabetic neuropathy.

"It is important for people with diabetes to be screened regularly for neuropathy," explains Mark J. Brown, M.D., a professor of neurology at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, and a principal investigator for the diabetic neuropathy clinical research study. "Patients with diabetic neuropathy may experience numbness and injure themselves without realizing it. The painless injury can get infected, and if not properly treated, lead to serious tissue damage and amputation. In fact, complications from diabetes account for nearly 50 percent of all non-traumatic amputations in the United States. Many of these could be prevented with proper diagnosis and care­ moCurrently, there are no approved treatments available to treat diabetic neuropathy. Patients may treat the pain associated with the condition with a variety of drugs, as well as alternative therapies such as herbal medicines, massage, reflexology and even acupuncture.

The clinical research trial will study an investigational drug for the treatment of diabetic neuropathy. Eligible patients will receive study-related medical care at no cost while participating in the research study, as well as the possibility of treatment with a drug that is being investigated to determine its effect on diabetic neuropathy. Patients who remain in the research study for the full two years will have the option of receiving an additional 12 months of free study drug after the research study is completed.

The research study is open to patients between the ages of 18 and 70 who have diabetes. In general, the longer that someone has diabetes, the more likely they are to suffer from neuropathy. Also, African-Americans, Hispanics, Native Americans, Asians and Mexicans are two times more likely to have diabetes, which in turn means they are more likely to suffer from diabetic neuropathy. People who smoke and people over 40 years of age also seem to be at increased risk.

For more information on the research study and to receive a free medical screening, call (800) 283-7634. The enrollment period and number of fre