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Home Agent Orange Agent Orange: Acute and Subacute Peripheral Neuropathy

Agent Orange: Acute and Subacute Peripheral Neuropathy

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VA presumes Veterans' acute and subacute peripheral neuropathy is related to their exposure to Agent Orange or other herbicides during military service when:

  • It appears within one year of exposure to Agent Orange to a degree of at least 10 percent disabling by VA’s rating regulations, and
  • It is temporary and resolves within two years.




Learn more:

  • About Peripheral Neuropathy
  • Research on Peripheral Neuropathy and Herbicides Used in Vietnam
  • VA Benefits for Acute and Subacute Peripheral Neuropathy
  • Contact VA about Benefits

About Peripheral Neuropathy

Peripheral neuropathy is a condition of the peripheral nervous system, which consists of nerves outside the brain and spinal cord.

Acute or subacute form of peripheral neuropathy refers to symptoms occurring within weeks after exposure. (In chronic cases, effects appear much later.) It is a temporary condition.

Signs and Symptoms

  • Numbness, tingling or prickling in the toes or fingers in early stages. This may spread to the feet or hands and may cause burning, throbbing or shooting pain that is worse at night.
  • Pain equally in both sides of the body (in both hands or in both feet).
  • Also can include muscle weakness, loss of balance or coordination, extreme sensitivity to touch.

Research on Peripheral Neuropathy and Herbicides Used in Vietnam

The Institute of Medicine (IOM) of the National Academy of Sciences concluded in its report "Veterans and Agent Orange: Update 1996"*† that there is some evidence to suggest that neuropathy of acute or subacute onset may be associated with herbicide exposure. 

Chronic persistent peripheral neuropathy remains in the category of inadequate/insufficient evidence to determine an association with herbicide exposure.

View more research on health effects of Agent Orange.

VA Benefits for Acute and Subacute Peripheral Neuropathy

Veterans with acute and subacute peripheral neuropathy that appeared within one year of exposure to Agent Orange or other herbicides to a degree of at least 10% disabling by VA’s rating regulations and resolved within two years may be eligible for disability compensation and health care benefits. Chronic peripheral neuropathy is not presumed by VA to be caused by exposure to Agent Orange.

Veterans who served in Vietnam or another area where Agent Orange was sprayed may be eligible for an Agent Orange registry health exam, a free, comprehensive examination.

Contact VA about Benefits

By Telephone

  • Toll-free Helpline: 1-800-749-8387 Press 3
  • Agent Orange Registry Health Exam: Call your local VA Environmental Health Coordinator
  • Health Care: 1-877-222-8387
  • Compensation and Other Non-Health Care Benefits: 1-800-827-1000
  • TDD (for hearing impaired): 1-800-829-4833

In Person

  • Health Care and Agent Orange Registry Health Exam: Go to your nearest VA health care facility.
  • Compensation Benefits and Other Non-Health Care Benefits: Go to your nearest VA benefits office.
 

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Did you know?

A veteran’s family must request a United States flag.

A flag is provided at no cost to drape the casket or accompany the urn of a deceased veteran. Generally, the flag is given to the next of kin. Only one flag may be provided per veteran. Upon the request of the family, an “Application for United States Flag for Burial Purposes” (VA Form 21-2008) must be submitted along with a copy of the veteran’s discharge papers. Flags may be obtained from VA regional offices and most U.S. Post Offices.