Medications Utilized As Pain Treatment Options For RSD/CRPS

August 17, 2011 | Posted in , , | 1

RSD/CRPS can be difficult to treat, but practitioners are utilizing a variety of medications to improve treatments.

Medications are given to help decrease pain or discomfort caused by RSD/CRPS and you may require more than one medicine to control your pain. For example, you may need a pain medicine to take every day and another to take before rehabilitative therapy or during pain flare-ups. Your health care provider will recommend medications based on:

  • What signs and symptoms you have and how severe they are
  • If you are having other RSD/CRPS-related problems such as panic, anxiety, depression and/or difficulty sleeping
  • Whether or not you have a nerve injury (CRPS-II)
  • How experienced and up-to-date your provider is about RSD/CRPS

Some medications can be bought over-the-counter (OTC) at your local pharmacy or grocery store, while others require a prescription. A number of medications for treating RSD/CRPS are used in an off-label manner (meaning the medication may be used for conditions other than the ones for which it received Food and Drug Administration (FDA) indications). Your health care provider may prescribe or recommend one or more of the following medications to control your pain and discomfort:

  • Anti-convulsants — Anti-convulsants are medications that were originally used to treat seizures (convulsions), health care providers often prescribe a medicine called gabapentin (Neurontin) or pregabalin (Lyrica) because they can be helpful in relieving nerve pain.
  • Antidepressants — Many of them are also used to treat nerve pain and help in three ways: relieve pain, improve sleep and decrease depression in people who have it.
  • Anti-hypertensives and alpha-adrenergic antagonists — These medications are commonly used to treat people with high blood pressure (hypertension) and may also be used to treat  RSD/CRPS by improving blood flow to the involved limb. Anti-hypertensive medications may also help to decrease pain by exerting some chemical effect on nerve cells in the spinal cord and brain that helps to counteract the stress response commonly seen in sympathetically maintained pain.
  • Anxiolytics/hypnotics (benzodiazepines) — Your health care provider may recommend this type of medicine to treat anxiety, sleep problems and/or decreasing your pain.
  • Biphosphonates and calcitonin — People with RSD/CRPS commonly have bone loss in their RSD/CRPS-involved limb. Biphosphonates and calcitonin help to decrease bone loss and control calcium levels in your blood, which can greatly decrease pain in some people with RSD/CRPS, while calcitonin may offer mild pain relief.
  • Corticosteroids — These medications may be helpful in reducing pain and inflammation (redness, swelling) and may be given as a short-term treatment in the early stages of RSD/CRPS.
  • Muscle relaxants — These medications are used to treat muscle spasms, help relieve anxiety, sleep problems and may have an added effect of decreasing your pain.
  • NMDA receptor antagonists — This class of medication act chemically on nerve cells to decrease pain and has been used for a long time in the treatment of RSD/CRPS and other long-term pain disorders. Some examples of these drugs are dextromethorphan (a common element in cough medicines) and ketamine (Ketalar). Methadone, an opioid, may also be used for this effect.
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) — These medicines may help relieve pain, redness and swelling (and also fever). NSAIDs include aspirin, ibuprofen, naproxen and ketoprofen.
  • Opioids — These medicines are often used to manage moderate to severe RSD/CRPS pain, especially if your pain is preventing you from having rehabilitative therapy. Opioids include morphine, hydrocodone, oxycodone, methadone, fentanyl and others.
  • Other analgesics (pain relievers) — These analgesics include acetaminophen (Tylenol, Panadol, Tempra) and tramadol (Ultram).
  • Skin patches, creams and ointments — Skin patches, creams or ointments contain medicine that may relieve pain on the area where it is applied or rubbed on.

A full transcript of these approaches can be accessed from the following web site source – http://www.painfoundation.org/learn/pain-conditions/crps/medications.html


1 Comment

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    September 25, 2011 at 5:50 pm

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