Long-term effects of tolrestat on symptomatic diabetic sensory polyneuropathy.

van Gerven JM, Lemkes HH, van Dijk JG

Tolrestat is an aldose reductase inhibitor that is undergoing extensive clinical investigation for the treatment of diabetic complications including polyneuropathy. As part of a larger European trial, we report here the results from a single clinical center on the efficacy of tolrestat in patients with confirmed diabetic neuropathy. The trial was conducted in two phases: a 6-month double-blind, placebo-controlled phase, and a 6-month open-label phase in which most patients were treated with tolrestat. Following the double-blind phase, motor and sensory nerve conduction velocity had significantly deteriorated in the placebo group, which did not occur during treatment with tolrestat. Deterioration of vibration threshold also occurred during placebo treatment and did not occur with tolrestat. During the open-label phase, motor nerve condition velocity and vibration threshold improved with tolrestat. Moreover, the deterioration of motor nerve conduction velocity and vibration threshold that had occurred in patients initially treated with placebo, was stopped during open-label treatment with tolrestat.