Intravenous Therapies for Complex Regional Pain Syndrome: A Systematic Review

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Complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) remains a challenging clinical pain condition. Multidisciplinary approaches have been advocated for managing CRPS. Compared with spinal cord stimulation and intrathecal targeted therapy, IV treatments are less invasive and less costly. We aimed to systemically review the literature on IV therapies and determine the level of evidence to guide the management of CRPS. We searched PubMed, Embase, Scopus, and the Cochrane databases for articles published on IV therapies of CRPS up through February 2015. The search yielded 299 articles, of which 101 were deemed relevant by reading the titles and 63 by reading abstracts. All these 63 articles were retrieved for analysis and discussion. We evaluated the relevant studies and provided recommendations according to the level of evidence. We conclude that there is evidence to support the use of IV bisphosphonates, immunoglobulin, ketamine, or lidocaine as valuable interventions in selected patients with CRPS. However, high-quality studies are required to further evaluate the safety, efficacy, and cost-effectiveness of IV therapies for CRPS.

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