FDA Approves Spinal Cord Stimulation Therapy for Treating Chronic Pain Resulting from Diabetic Peripheral Neuropathy

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) last month approved a rechargeable neurostimulator and a recharge-free neurostimulator for the treatment of chronic pain associated with diabetic peripheral neuropathy (DPN). Medtronic is marketing the products as Intellis™ and Vanta™, respectively.

DPN is a debilitating and progressive neurological disorder that affects approximately 30% of people with diabetes, significantly impacting both quality of life and functional ability, including mood, social relationships, and sleep. DPN occurs when high blood sugar damages nerves in the body, most often in the legs and feet, leading to numbness and burning or stabbing pain. In some patients, the pain can become progressively worse and excruciating. Patients may be treated with medications, but they are often only partially effective and can result in serious side effects.

Independent studies show patients with DPN achieve significant pain relief when treated with spinal cord stimulation (SCS) compared to conventional treatments alone. Overall, 70% of patients receiving treatment with SCS experienced relief of their pain symptoms compared to 6% of patients receiving only conventional treatments. Those treated with SCS experienced a 53% average reduction in pain, compared to 0% among patients receiving only conventional treatments. A recent meta-analysis showed a significant improvement in health-related quality of life in patients treated with SCS compared to those receiving only conventional treatments. A long-term analysis of patients treated in one of the studies using Medtronic SCS technology showed 80% of patients treated with SCS continued to use their devices at five years to treat their pain.

Medtronic estimates that up to 800,000 US patients suffer from moderate to severe DPN symptoms that are not resolved through conventional medical management approaches, like drugs. The company views these patients as potential candidates for SCS, representing an approximate $1.8 billion annual market opportunity. Today, Medtronic estimates that the US market revenue for SCS treatment of chronic pain associated with DPN, sometimes also referred to as Painful Diabetic Neuropathy (PDN), is approximately $70 million, and the company expects market revenue to grow to $300 million by fiscal year 2026.