The efficacy of oral corticoids in treating complex regional pain syndrome: A retrospective cohort study

Corinne van den Berg*, Frank J.P.M. Huygen, Jitske Tiemensma

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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There is growing evidence supporting the role of inflammatory mechanisms in complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS). Corticoids, as most effective anti-inflammatory drugs, are widely used in treating inflammation. The aim of this study was to retrospectively assess the efficacy of oral corticoid treatment in CRPS patients. 


Patients treated at the center of pain medicine in the Erasmus University Medical Centre between January 2015 and January 2020 were approached to partake in this study. Medical records were screened for age, gender, medical history, duration of CRPS, and CRPS severity score. Also, treatment effect, dose and duration, pain scores (NRS), and side effects were extracted from medical records. In addition, global perceived effect was completed in patients treated with corticoids. 


Between January 2015 and January 2020, twenty-nine CRPS patients received corticoids and met the inclusion criteria. One extreme outlier was excluded and treatment effect was unknown for one patient. Average daily dose was 28.9 mg (range 10–30 mg) and the mean treatment duration was 10.5 days (7–21 days). Fourteen patients (51.9%) responded positively to treatment and thirteen (48.1%) did not respond. Side effects were reported in five patients (17.9%). 


Corticoid treatment was effective in more than half of the patients. With only mild side effects reported the treatment also appears to be relatively safe. Further research is needed to investigate the efficacy of corticoids in treating (early) CRPS, preferably in an intervention study.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)394-403
Number of pages10
JournalPain Practice
Issue number3
Early online date26 Oct 2023
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 The Authors. Pain Practice published by Wiley Periodicals LLC on behalf of World Institute of Pain.


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