Neuropathy pain has once again evaded conquer from a drug company. The latest in a series of failed drugs to reduce neuropathy pain is Alond, from Pfizer. The company recently announced that in clinical trials Alond did little more than a placebo for nerve pain in people with diabetes. Because of the disappointing results, Pfizer will go no further in bringing Alond to the Food and Drug Administration.
To test the drug’s effectiveness, researchers took biopsies of patients’ nerves before treatment, then 18 months after treatment with either Alond or a placebo pill. Neither group showed improvement in nerve damage.
A challenge for neuropathy research is that nerve damage occurs gradually over many years, and drugs may take longer than 18 months, for example, to reverse this damage. Yet, budget concerns make it impractical for companies to spend greater amounts of time on clinical trials.
“It may be very difficult, in clinical trials of practical duration,” reports Pfizer in The Wall Street Journal, “to demonstrate that a drug can slow the rate of nerve degeneration using existing measurement technologies.”