Mackey S, Feinberg S. Pharmacologic therapies for complex regional pain syndrome. Curr. Pain Headache Rep. 2007;11(1):38-43.
Complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) remains a challenging condition to diagnose and treat. There are few large-scale, randomized trials of pharmacologic agents, and most published studies are small, uncontrolled, or presented only in abstract form at meetings. The most commonly used agents, such as anticonvulsants, antidepressants, and opiates, have been found to be useful for other neuropathic pain conditions in large-scale trials but have not been adequately studied in CRPS. Systemic steroids delivered by multiple routes continue to be used, with some good evidence for short-term administration. N-methyl-D-aspartate antagonists have recently gained in popularity, without evidence from well-controlled trials. Bisphosphonates have been well studied and offer promise. In addition, there has been interest in thalidomide; however, we are still awaiting well-controlled trials. This article presents an overview of the available data regarding pharmacologic therapies for CRPS. These agents should be used in conjunction with a comprehensive interdisciplinary approach aimed at functional restoration and improved quality of life.