Peripheral neuropathy refers to a condition that results from damage to the peripheral nervous system—the nerves that connect the brain and spinal cord to the rest of the body. Symptoms of peripheral neuropathy usually begin with numbness or tingling in the hands and feet, followed by more severe complications. Many different factors can damage the nerves and cause peripheral neuropathy, including diseases, infections or certain medications. Peripheral neuropathy that is caused by drugs is called drug-induced peripheral neuropathy or secondary peripheral neuropathy 23.

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HIV Medications

Several medications used to treat the human immnodeficiency virus, or HIV, carry a risk of inducing peripheral neuropathy. These drugs include:

  • stavudine
  • sold as Zerit; zalcitabine
  • sold as Hivid; ritonavir
  • sold as Norvir; amprenavir
  • sold as Agenerase; zidovudine
  • sold as Retrovir
  • formerly AZT;
  • didanosine
  • sold as Videx

Medications for Other Infections

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Drugs used to treat many different types of infection also increase the risk of peripheral neuropathy 23. Leprosy is treated with thalidomide, brand name Thalomid, which can cause peripheral neuropathy.

Other Medications

Heart disease and high blood pressure are sometimes treated with drugs that can induce peripheral neuropathy, such as:

  • amiodarone
  • hydralazine
  • perhexiline
  • indapamide
  • which is sold as Lozol

Dapsone is a prescription drug used to treat certain skin conditions that increases the risk of nerve damage.