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Medications Known To Cause Toxic Neuropathy

Any substance taken into the body can produces various side effects.  These lists can be quite long, depending on the medication and possible toxic effects on the normal functioning of the body.  One possible effect of some of these medications is peripheral neuropathy.  Do you have numbness, tingling or even pain from nerve injury that may be caused by a medication you are taking? 

Note:  Although these medications may be causing your peripheral neuropathy, it is not recommended that you stop these medications without discussing the possibility with your doctor.  Other alternatives may be available, or sometimes other medications or vitamins may be utilized to reduce the chance of nerve damage.  It is also possible that these medications have no link to your neuropathy symptoms.

Possible Causes Of Toxic Peripheral Neuropathy

Highly Toxic Chemotherapy Drugs - 30% of treated individuals will have neuropathy symptoms

  • Trisenox (arsenic trioxide)
  • Velcade (bortezomib)
  • Taxotere (docetaxel)
  • Eloxatin (oxaliplatin)
  • Taxol (paclitaxel)

Less Toxic Chemotherapy Drugs - 10 to 29% of patients have neuropathy symptoms

  • Campath (alemtuzumab)
  • Hexalen (altretamin)
  • Xeloda (capecitabine)
  • Paraplatin (carboplatin)
  • Platinol (cisplatin)
  • DTIC-Dome (dacarbazine)
  • Ontak (denileukin diftitox)
  • Fludara (fludarabine)
  • Intron (interferon alpha)
  • DaunoXome (liposomal daunorubicin)
  • Vesanoid (tretinoin)
  • Velban (vinblastine)
  • Navelbine (vinorelbine)
  • Oncovin (vincristine)
  • Suramin

Drugs utilized to fight infections

  • Cipro (ciprofloxacin) - antibiotic
  • Flagyl (metronidazole) - antibiotic
  • Levaquin (levofloxacin) - antibiotic
  • Nitrofurantoin (Macrobid) - antibiotic
  • Thalidomide - used to fight leprosy
  • INH (Isoniazid) - used to fight tuberculosis

Drugs utilized to reduce anxiety

  • Ambien (zolpidem)
  • BuSpar (buspirone)
  • Klonopin (clonazepam)
  • Xanax (alprazolam)

Anti-Depressant Medications

  • Celexa (citalopram)
  • Cymbalta (Duloxetine) - Also utilized to treat neuropathy
  • Effexor (Venlafaxine)
  • Effexor XR
  • Nortriptyline - Also utilized to treat neuropathy
  • Zoloft

Blood Pressure or Heart Medications

  • Amiodarone
  • Atenolol
  • Aceon
  • Altace
  • Cozaar
  • Hydralazine
  • Hydrochlorothiazide (HCT)
  • Hydrodiuril
  • Hyzaar
  • Lisinopril
  • Micardis
  • Norvasc
  • Perindopril
  • Perhexiline
  • Prazosin
  • Prinivil
  • Ramipril
  • Zestril

HIV Drugs

  • d4T or stavudine (Zerit)
  • ddC or zalcitabine (Hivid)
  • ddl or didanosine (Videx EC)
  • ritonavir (Norvir)
  • amprenavir (Agenerase)
  • zidovudine (Retrovir)

Cholesterol Drugs - Since these medications stop cholesterol production and the myelin sheath is a form of cholesterol, they cause disruption of the myelin sheath.

  • Advicor
  • Altocor
  • Atorvastatin
  • Baycol
  • Caduet
  • Cerivastatin
  • Crestor
  • Fluvastatin
  • lescol
  • Lescol XL
  • Lipex
  • Lipitor
  • Lipobay
  • Lopid
  • Lovastatin
  • Mevacor
  • Pravachol
  • Pravastatin
  • Pravigard Pac
  • Rosuvastatin
  • Simvastatin
  • Vytorin
  • Zocor

Dental Creams - Zinc containing creams may produce a zinc toxicity neuropathy

  • Polygrip
  • Fixodent

Other Medications

  • Humira (adalimumab) - Treating rheumatoid arthritis or Chron's disease
  • Solganal (aurothioglucose) - Treating rheumatoid arthritis
  • Metformin - Reducing blood sugars in diabetics
  • Disulfiram - Treating alcohol addiction
  • Phenytoin (Dilantin) - Anticonvulsant or Anti-seizure medication
  • Lyrica (Pregabalin) - Anti-seizure medication (also used to treat neuropathy)
  • Dapsone - Treating certain skin conditions
  • Colchicine - Treating gout attacks
  • Cimetidine (Tagamet) - Treating ulcers

*These medications all have significant scientific studies stating that they may cause peripheral neuropathy symptoms. However, there may be other medications that are not yet proven to cause toxic neuropathy.

Brandt R Gibson, DPM
Podiatrist, Neuropathy Doctor, Father of 11 and Founder of Mountain West Foot & Ankle Institute