If you have diabetic neuropathy or hyperhomocysteinemia, you may benefit from Metanx. This nutritional supplement is only available by prescription and is thought to help restore function to damaged nerves by improving blood flow to the nerves. It is only recommended for use in adults. In some cases, a healthcare provider may recommend "off-label" uses for Metanx, such as treating certain types of anemia.
What Is Metanx Used For?Metanx® is a prescription nutritional supplement used to help manage endothelial dysfunction in people with diabetic peripheral neuropathy. Endothelial dysfunction simply means that the inner lining of the blood vessels are not functioning properly. Metanx may also be used in people who have hyperhomocysteinemia (high levels of homocysteine in the blood). It is most useful for people with:
- A loss of sensation or feeling in the feet
- Neuropathic pain (nerve pain)
- Leg or foot ulcers (open sores or wounds).
Metanx is considered a "medical food." Medical foods are products that are made to help manage certain medical conditions with specific dietary needs. They are meant to be used under medical supervision. In fact, Metanx is only available with a prescription. However, like all medical foods, Metanx is not approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Diabetic neuropathy is nerve damage associated with diabetes. It occurs when high blood sugar levels damage the nerves and blood vessels in the body. Damaged nerves are unable to send out signals like they normally would, and damaged blood vessels are unable to supply the nerves with the nutrients and oxygen they need to function properly.
Diabetic neuropathy can occur in any nerve in the body, including those in the arms, legs, digestive system, and heart. Peripheral neuropathy describes damage to the peripheral nerves, or the nerves further out from the center of the body. Peripheral neuropathy often leads to symptoms in the hands and feet, such as:
- Numbness or loss of sensation or feeling
- Burning pain.
The numbness and loss of feeling may lead to serious complications, such as sores and ulcers, which can cause infection and possibly amputation. This is why it is important for people with diabetes to take good care of their feet. Good foot care includes checking your feet daily for any injuries (see Diabetic Foot Care for more information on how to care for your feet if you have diabetes).
Metanx can be used to help manage peripheral neuropathy by providing the body with vitamins that may help reduce the symptoms of this condition. Normally, it will take at least a week of treatment before symptoms improve. Some people may not notice a difference for several months. If you have been taking Metanx for at least four months and have not noticed an improvement in your symptoms, talk to your healthcare provider about whether this product is the best treatment for you.
(Click on Diabetic Neuropathy Treatment to learn more about options for treating neuropathies associated with diabetes.)