Peripheral neuropathies secondary to vitamin deficiencies, medications, or toxins are frequently considered but can be difficult to definitively diagnose. Accurate diagnosis is important since these conditions are often treatable and preventable. This article reviews the key features of different types of neuropathies caused by these etiologies and provides a comprehensive list of specific agents that must be kept in mind.
While most agents that cause peripheral neuropathy have been known for years, newly developed medications that cause peripheral neuropathy are discussed.
Peripheral nerves are susceptible to damage by a wide array of toxins, medications, and vitamin deficiencies. It is important to consider these etiologies when approaching patients with a variety of neuropathic presentations; additionally, etiologic clues may be provided by other systemic symptoms. While length-dependent sensorimotor axonal peripheral neuropathy is the most common presentation, several examples present in a subacute severe fashion, mimicking Guillain-Barré syndrome.