High Healthcare Costs Associated with Diabetic Peripheral Neuropathy

Research results published in Neurology; Clinical Practice, found adult patients diagnosed with painful diabetic peripheral neuropathy, had the highest total health care costs across all aspects of healthcare, making diabetes the most-costly health condition in the United States.

Diabetes is the number one cause of peripheral neuropathy damaging nerves in the arms, hands, feet, legs, and internal organs. Painful diabetic peripheral neuropathy affects up to one-third of patients diagnosed with diabetes and is associated with a significant reduction in overall quality of life, increased anxiety, depression, sleep disturbance, and difficulty walking.

The purpose of the study published in May, 2019, was to “quantify healthcare resource utilization and risk of complications” in patients diagnosed painful diabetic peripheral neuropathy. https://cp.neurology.org/content/early/2019/05/24/CPJ.0000000000000671

Study Design

Between January 2010 and December 2015, Adult patients diagnosed with diabetes or diabetic peripheral neuropathy were identified using MarketScan. (MarketScan is a health research database that includes commercial private medical insurance, and some Medicare and Medicaid, paid claims data of approximately 55 million claims per year.) Health care costs were collected for up to 5 years and disease complications were documented for those with at least 1-2 years of follow-up.

Patients with serious comorbidities were excluded. In patients with diabetic peripheral neuropathy, painful and non-painful diabetic neuropathy was identified based on the use of pain medications 6 months before a new indexed diagnosis and 1 year after. Costs measured included in-patient care, out-patient care, medicine, chiropractor visits, psychological counseling, home health care, physical therapy, occupational therapy and speech therapy.


Data analysis included more than 360,000 patients with diabetes of which 84,069 developed painful diabetic peripheral neuropathy (pDPN), 17,267 had non-painful diabetic peripheral neuropathy, and 259,223 without any diagnosed peripheral neuropathy. At baseline, the costs associated with pDPN were 20% higher than patients with diabetes and no diagnosed peripheral neuropathy and that increased to 31% by the 5th year of the analysis.

Patients with pDPN were far more likely to use opoid medications, anticonvulsants and antidepressants, 200%, 356%, and 224% respectively. The risk of amputation was 16.24 times greater in the group with pDPN and 87% more patients with pDPN experience lower limb infections. Within 2 years, 2.2% of those with pDPN experienced falls and fall-related injuries compared to 1.1% of patients with diabetes alone.

pDPN is not only extremely painful and debilitating but it also comes with a significantly higher cost of care.

Stem Cell Therapy at the Stem Cells Transplant Institute

Stem cell therapy at the Stem Cells Transplant Institute may help reduce the signs and symptoms of diabetic peripheral neuropathy including:

  • Loss of sensation in the arms and legs
  • Sharp, jabbing or throbbing pain
  • Freezing or burning pain
  • Tingling
  • Numbness
  • Lack of coordination and falling
  • Muscle weakness or paralysis
  • Heat intolerance and altered sweating
  • Thinning of the skin
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Buzzing or shocking sensation

How can stem cell therapy improve the symptoms of peripheral neuropathy?

Mesenchymal stem cells produce:

  1. Proteins that support the growth and survival of neurons
  2. Angiogenic factors that are essential for the healing, growth, development, and maintenance of blood vessels
  3. Immunomodulatory substances that can reverse the damage to the nerves.

In 2015, researchers published the results of a study using autologous stem cells to treat patients with diabetic foot gangrene due to peripheral neuropathy.  Results showed treatment with stem cells was safe, and patients had reduced pain in the limb, cold sensation was reduced, and clinical symptoms were improved. The ulcers healed gradually and the patient’s quality of life improved.

The Stem Cells Transplant Institute Uses Human Umbilical Cord Stem Cells for the Treatment of DPN

What are the advantages of human umbilical cord mesenchymal stem cells?

  • Abundant supply containing up to 10 times more stem cells than bone marrow or adipose derived stem cells
  • hUC-MSC have immunosuppressors and immunomodulatory properties that allow their use in any individual without rejection- Human Leukocyte Antigen (HLA) matching is not necessary
  • Greater proliferation ability than adult autologous stem cells
  • They regenerate at a very rapid rate
  • They are young and very adaptive
  • They have not been impacted by the aging process
  • They have not been affected by environmental toxins
  • Umbilical cord stem cells can be administered multiple times over the course of days
  • Eliminates the need to collect stem cells from the patient’s fat or hip bone reducing pain and recovery time

Contact the Regenerative Medicine Experts at the Stem Cells Transplant Institute today to learn more about the powerful healing benefits of stem cell therapy.

Scientific References:

  1. Kiyani M, Yang Z, Charalambous LT, et al. Painful diabetic peripheral neuropathy: Health care costs and complications from 2010 to 2015 [published online May 24, 2019]. Neurol Clin Pract. doi: 10.1212/CPJ.0000000000000671
  2. Cell Death Discovery (2016) 2, e16055; doi:10.1038/cddiscovery.2016.55; published online 11 July 2016 Mesenchymal stem cells to treat diabetic neuropathy: a long and strenuous way from bench to the clinic JY Zhou
  3. Han, JW et al., Bone Marrow-Derived Mesenchymal Stem Cells Improve Diabetic Neuropathy by Direct Modulation of Both Angiogenesis and Myelination in Peripheral Nerves. Cell transplant.2016;25(2):313-26. doi: 10.3727/096368915X688209. Epub 2015 May 13.
  4. Min Xu, S. et. al., Clinical observation of the application of autologous peripheral blood stem cell transplantation for the treatment of diabetic foot gangrene. Published online on: November 24, 2015.
  5. Wu, Q. et. al., Mesenchymal Stem Cells as a Prospective Therapy for the Diabetic Foot. Hindawi Publishing Corporation Stem Cells International Volume 2016, Article ID 4612167, 18 pages