New treatment for chronic pain condition CRPS
Single IV drip gives significant pain relief in 50% of Complex Regional Pain Syndrome patients
1st February 2010 - Complex Regional Pain Syndrome - or CRPS - is a chronic
pain condition that usually develops after an injury or trauma to a limb and
continues after the injury has healed. Now researchers from the University of
Liverpool’s Pain Research Institute have developed a new treatment using a low
dose infusion of intravenous immunoglobin.
In some cases of CRPS the pain can be so severe that patients request
amputation, only to find that the pain returns in the stump. CRPS is most
common in people aged between 40 and 60 but can occur at any age. It can occur
in children and affects women more often than men. There is no cure for
Experts believe that CRPS occurs as a result of dysfunction in the nervous
system or in immune responses.
Long term CRPS affects about one in 5,000 people in the UK.
Paralympic Gold medal winner at archery in Beijing 2008, Danielle Brown,
suffers from CRPS.
Conventional pain medications either don’t work, or have considerable side
The team at Liverpool’s Pain Research Institute discovered that a single, low
dose infusion of intravenous immunoglobin (IVIG) significantly reduced pain in
just under half of patients treated. The pain relief lasted five weeks on
average, with few adverse side effects.
Their research is published in the Annals of Internal Medicine.
The researchers say the results of the study could offer new hope to patients
with CRPS and have an impact on research in other severe chronic pain
Dr Andreas Goebel, senior lecturer in pain medicine, says in a news release
“In CRPS, the real effect of this treatment in clinic may turn out to be even
greater than what we have already seen, because IVIG can be given in higher
doses, and repeated treatment may have additional effects. IVIG is normally
repeated every four weeks and we are working to develop ways which would allow
patients to administer the treatment in their own home.”
“The discovery is expected to have a real impact on the treatment of other
unexplained chronic pain conditions; if one pain condition can be effectively
treated with an immune drug, then it is possible that other types will also
Intravenous immunoglobulin treatment for CRPS is not yet available on the