Vitamin and mineral deficiencies, neurotoxins, and, particularly, prescription medications, are some of the most common causes of peripheral neuropathy. Recognition and prompt treatment of these neuropathies require a high index of suspicion and an accompanied detailed history. This article provides a comprehensive approach and list of items that must be considered in the setting of new-onset neuropathy.
Although many of the neuropathies described in this article have decreased in prevalence in developed countries because of public health interventions and occupational/environmental regulations, new causes for this class of neuropathy continue to be uncovered.
The peripheral nervous system is susceptible to a broad array of metabolic and toxic abnormalities, which most often lead to a length-dependent sensory-predominant axonal peripheral neuropathy. A careful history accompanied by recognition of multisystem clues can increase recognition of these neuropathies, which is important as many have specific treatments that may either improve the neuropathy or halt its progression.