Case report: Long-standing complex regional pain syndrome relieved by a cephalosporin antibiotic

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We report a patient with refractory complex regional pain syndrome who responded to the antibiotic cefadroxil, and consider that cephalosporin antibiotics may have analgesic properties in neuropathic pain.

We describe a young woman who had had treatment-refractory complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) for 6 years before receiving antibiotic treatment with cefadroxil (a cephalosporin derivative) for a minor infection. Cefadroxil reduced the patient's pain and motor dysfunction (dystonia and impaired voluntary movement) within days; the pain and motor disorder returned when cefadroxil was discontinued; and both again abated when cefadroxil was re-instituted. The patient has now had symptom relief for more than 3 years on continuing cefadroxil therapy. We discuss this case in the context of previous reports of antibiotic treatment relieving neuropathic pain in experimental animals.

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