Intravenous clodronate in the treatment of reflex sympathetic dystrophy syndrome. A randomized, double blind, placebo controlled study

J Rheumatol. 2000 Jun;27(6):1477-83.


Objective: To evaluate the efficacy of intravenous (i.v.) clodronate in patients with reflex sympathetic dystrophy syndrome (RSDS) and to assess the urinary excretion of type I collagen crosslinked N-telopeptide (NTx) before and after the treatment.

Methods: Thirty-two patients with RSDS were randomized to receive either i.v. clodronate 300 mg daily for 10 consecutive days or placebo. Forty days later, the placebo treated patients received the clodronate treatment. Outcome measures included as a primary endpoint the visual analog scale of pain (VAS, range 0-100); secondary endpoints were a clinical global assessment (CGA, range 0-3) and an efficacy verbal score (EVS, range 0-3). Clinical and biochemical assessments were performed before the treatment, 40 (T40), 90 (T90), and 180 (T180) days later.

Results: At T40 the 15 patients randomized to clodronate treatment showed significant decreases of VAS and CGA (p = 0.002, p = 0.001, respectively). Compared with the placebo group (17 patients), significant differences were found in all clinical variables (VAS: p = 0.001; CGA: p = 0.001; EVS: p<0.0001). A further clinical improvement was observed throughout the study. Pooling the results of all 32 patients after clodronate treatment, at T180 the overall percentage decrease of VAS was 93.2+/-15.6%, with 30 patients significantly improved or asymptomatic. Significant inverse correlations between baseline NTx values and decreases of VAS were found at T90 (p = 0.03) and T180 (p = 0.01). No adverse events related to treatment occurred.

Conclusion: A 10 day i.v. clodronate course is better than placebo and effective in the treatment of RSDS. NTx seems to be a predictive factor for clodronate efficacy.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Analgesics, Non-Narcotic / administration & dosage*
  • Biomarkers
  • Bone Resorption / urine
  • Clodronic Acid / administration & dosage*
  • Collagen / urine
  • Collagen Type I
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Injections, Intravenous
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pain Measurement
  • Peptides / urine
  • Placebos
  • Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy / drug therapy*
  • Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy / urine
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Analgesics, Non-Narcotic
  • Biomarkers
  • Collagen Type I
  • Peptides
  • Placebos
  • collagen type I trimeric cross-linked peptide
  • Clodronic Acid
  • Collagen