Background. This double-blind, randomized, controlled trial investigated the effect of the phosphodiesterase-5 inhibitor tadalafil on the microcirculation in patients with cold Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) in one lower extremity. Methods. Twenty-four patients received 20 mg tadalafil or placebo daily for 12 weeks. The patients also participated in a physical therapy program. The primary outcome measure was temperature difference between the CRPS side and the contralateral side, determined by measuring the skin temperature with videothermography. Secondary outcomes were: pain measured on a Visual Analogue Scale, muscle force measured with a MicroFet 2 dynamometer, and level of activity measured with an Activity Monitor (AM) and walking tests. Results. At the end of the study period, the temperature asymmetry was not significantly reduced in the tadalafil group compared with the placebo group, but there was a significant and clinically relevant reduction of pain in the tadalafil group. Muscle force improved in both treatment groups and the AM revealed small, non-significant improvements in time spent standing, walking, and the number of short walking periods. Conclusion. Tadalafil may be a promising new treatment for patients that have chronic cold CRPS due to endothelial dysfunction, and deserves further investigation. Trial Registration. The registration number in the Dutch Trial Register is ISRCTN60226869.

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Persistent URL dx.doi.org/10.1186/1471-2474-9-143, hdl.handle.net/1765/30328
Citation
Groeneweg, J.G., Huygen, F.J.P.M., Niehof, S.P., Wesseldijk, F., Bussmann, J.B.J., Schasfoort, F.C., … Zijlstra, F.J.. (2008). Effect of tadalafil on blood flow, pain, and function in chronic cold Complex Regional Pain Syndrome: A randomized controlled trial. BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders, 9. doi:10.1186/1471-2474-9-143