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Volume 8, Pages 229-236
Review Article

Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS/RSD) and Neuropathic Pain: Role of Intravenous Bisphosphonates as Analgesics

The Mount Sinai School of Medicine, Department of Anesthesiology, 5 East 98th, Street, 6th fl., Box # 1192, New York, NY 10029, USA

Received 1 November 2007; Revised 13 January 2008; Accepted 20 January 2008

Academic Editor: George Siegel

Copyright © 2008 Jennifer Yanow et al.


Neuropathic pain is a sequela of dysfunction, injuries, or diseases of the peripheral and/or central nervous system pain pathways, which has historically been extremely difficult to treat. Complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) types 1 and 2 are neuropathic pain conditions that have a long history in the medical literature but whose pathophysiology remains elusive and whose available treatment options remain few. While an exact animal model for CRPS doesn't yet exist, there are several animal models of neuropathic pain that develop behaviors of hypersensitivity, one of the hallmark signs of neuropathic pain in humans.

Bisphosphonates have been used for pathologic conditions associated with abnormal bone metabolism, such as osteoporosis, Paget’s disease and cancer-related bone pain for many years. More recently, results of clinical trials have indicated the potential role of bisphosphonates in the treatment of CRPS/RSD.

In this paper we will review the preclinical studies regarding the use of bisphosphonates as analgesics in animal models of neuropathic pain, and also summarize the clinical trials that have been done to date. We will give an overview of bisphosphonate pharmacology and discuss several potential mechanisms by which bisphosphonates may be analgesic in CRPS/RSD and bone pain of noncancer origin.