Susan B. Sloane, BS, RPh, CDE, has been a registered pharmacist for more than 20 years and a Certified Diabetes Educator for more than 15 years. Her two sons were diagnosed with diabetes, and since then, she has been dedicated to promoting wellness and optimal outcomes as a patient advocate, information expert, educator, and corporate partner.
The Orphan Drug Amendments of 1988 defines “medical food” as a food which is formulated to be consumed or administered enterally under the supervision of a physician, and which is intended for the specific dietary management of a disease or condition for which distinctive nutritional requirements, based on recognized scientific principles, are established by medical evaluation.
In this example, a product called Metanx(R) is utilized to help provide the nutritional requirements that will help support nerve function. It has been shown in studies that blood vessel damage is part of that pathology of diabetic neuropathy. In restoring nutrients that blood vessels need to stay healthy, Metanx(R) has been shown to increase circulation and oxygen, which leads to better supply the nervous system. There are also other proposed mechanisms, but the best thing about this type of therapy is the relative lack of side effects compared to traditional drugs used for neuropathy treatment. Not all therapy works for every patient, but it's nice to know the choice exists.