Neurotoxic Drugs & Charcot-Marie-Tooth

CMT symptoms can be severely increased by neurotoxic drugs.

Individuals affected with neuropathic diseases, such as Charcot-Marie-Tooth, may be more vulnerable to the effects of certain medical conditions, stresses, and medications.

A small number of medications are known to cause damage to nerves or cause neuropathy. These neurotoxic drugs are poisonous or destructive to nerve tissue, and can cause a loss of muscle control and/or nerve sensation.

CMT patients and their health care providers need to be aware about the medications that might worsen their neuropathy and be harmful to their strength, sensation, and function. Symptoms of CMT can remain dormant, only to be severely increased by neurotoxic drugs. Prevention of progression should focus on avoiding the medications that can affect any pre-existing neurological disease.

Most of the neurotoxic drugs fall into two broad categories: chemotherapies and antibiotics. However, numerous other treatments are also known to cause nerve injury and each must be evaluated before administration. With each medication, the risk of exposure must be weighed against the benefit of use.

There is only one example of a treatment that must be avoided in all circumstances. The chemotherapy agent vincristine may cause severe weakness and nerve injury after only 1 or 2 doses in patients with minimal or unknown CMT1A, the most common form of Charcot-Marie-Tooth.

While most all other treatments carry a relative, but not absolute risk of use, it’s imperative to always discuss any known family history of CMT with your health care providers before taking any medication.

HNF created a neurotoxic drug wallet card to alert CMT patients about medications that may worsen their neuropathy. You can provide this vital information easily to all your healthcare providers when they prescribe a medication.

With a minimum donation of $10,  you can receive a Neurotoxin wallet card. Just fill out the form below and HNF will send your card via snail mail and arrive in within seven days.

New Neurotoxin accordion business cards are now available. If you previously made a donation and would like an updated card, email [email protected]. Please put “Mail updated card in subject line”.

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