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Dr. Andrew Rynne
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Dr. Andrew Rynne

Family Physician

Exp 50 years

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Are there any medication to increase blood flow to the legs?

Answered by
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Dr. Olsi Taka

Neurologist

Practicing since :2004

Answered : 3650 Questions

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Posted on Tue, 6 Sep 2016 in Thyroid Problem and Hormonal Problems
Question: Could you please recommend a treatment/medication to increase blood flow? I have peripheral neuropathy and have numbness (little pain, hard to walk)and my doctor has prescribed gabapentin which is basically for seizures. I don't see how it would help with my blood flow.
doctor
Answered by Dr. Olsi Taka 49 minutes later
Brief Answer:
Read below

Detailed Answer:
I read your question carefully and I understand your concern.

In order to directly answer your question, drugs which are used to improve blood flow in peripheral arteries (usually used in diabetic patients) include pentoxifylline or cilostazol.

That being said I must say that you are not correct in your interpretation of your doctor's management. While it is used for seizures, Gabapentin is also one of the most used medications to alleviate symptoms of peripheral neuropathy. It is a first line therapy for that purpose in all medical guidelines, perhaps the most preferred by neurologists worldwide. So if the diagnosis of peripheral neuropathy is correct Gabapentin is the correct drug to control your pain, numbness and tingling, rest assured about that.

So while I provided the names of the other medications above because you asked them, I do not recommend them, they are not used for peripheral neuropathy, only for documented (by imaging) narrowing of the arteries in your lower limbs.

I remain at your disposal for other questions.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
doctor
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Follow up: Dr. Olsi Taka 8 hours later
Thanks so much for your reply and clarifying for me as to the uses for Gabapentin.
I should have also told you that I had a lumbar MRI which showed I have spinal stenosis and cysts on both kidneys. Also, the vascular doctor my primary doctor referred me to wanted to do a radio frequency ablation (I assume to help with blood flow) but the managing group denied the treatment for "information does not meet criteria". I am so confused!! I have moderately high blood pressure, varicose veins and it is hard to walk and makes me short-winded. Any further advice from you would be most appreciated.
doctor
Answered by Dr. Olsi Taka 2 hours later
Brief Answer:
Read below

Detailed Answer:
Thank you for the additional information. I see now that the issue with your blood vessels is in the veins not in the arteries. In that case it is not a question of plaques which are formed in arteries. The medication I mentioned above is not used either. There is no useful medication for varicose veins.

Regarding radio frequency ablation I am afraid you have misunderstood its purpose, it's actually the other way around....it is not done to help the blood flow in the veins where it's applied, it is actually done to shut them down for good. Those superficial varicose veins are not essential, they can be done without, that is why it is done to remove the pain they cause.

Actually all the options for varicose vein involve either sealing, shutting down the vein (radiofrequency ablation, laser treatment, foam sclerotherapy) or surgically removing it. As for whether you meet the criteria for those procedures or not it is hard to say without being able to examine you.

Regarding the spinal stenosis the treatment is pain control through medication like Gabapentin and physical therapy to strengthen your back muscles and try to prevent further progression. If that is not effective the other option to be considered is surgery.

It is important to talk with your doctor which of your conditions is more responsible for your walking difficulties, as all of them, spinal stenosis, peripheral neuropathy as well as varicose veins can cause pain in the limbs and walking limitations. That way the most urgent one will be addressed first. A consult with a vascular surgeon and a neurosurgeon/neurologist may be considered if the primary care doctor is uncertain.

As for the kidney cysts, most of the times they are benign and need no treatment, are coincidentally found in many people.

I hope to have been of help.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
doctor
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Follow up: Dr. Olsi Taka 10 hours later
I am so thankful for your explanation of the different treatments/medication for the various problems I have. My doctors are so busy they don't have time to really explain in detail. For instance, the neurologist's answer to my question "What is my problem", he just said "it is your back"???? I have started taking the Gabapentin so will see how it goes. I will go back to my primary doctor and see what he says now. Thanks a million.
doctor
Answered by Dr. Olsi Taka 4 hours later
Brief Answer:
You're welcome.

Detailed Answer:
Hope you'll feel better soon.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
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