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Acute Charcot neuroarthropathy is a devastating condition and, its incidence is increasing. Currently, treatment consists of immobilisation and off-loading of the involved extremity. Outcomes are frequently poor and novel treatments are being sought urgently. This review aims to outline advances in the pharmacological treatment of this, condition. PubMed and the Cochrane Database of systematic reviews were searched. Relevant papers were cross referenced. Eleven original studies were identified. The limited data available suggest pamidronate, alendronate and calcitonin provide some clinical and biochemical improvements while zoledronic acid is deleterious and, increases off-loading times. However, the data is not robust enough to convincingly demonstrate clinically meaningful effects. The studies were predominantly low quality and heterogeneous. They differed markedly in study type, pharmacological agent used, dosing regimen, disease, aetiology/stage/location, concurrent off-loading regimen, outcomes and, follow-up. Few were rigorous in controlling for associated confounding variables and none investigated long term outcomes. The routine use of pharmacological treatment modalities for this condition is not recommended in the United States by the Food and Drug Administration or in the United Kingdom by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence. Given the evidence available this is justified and further higher quality research is required.

Original publication




Journal article


Foot and ankle surgery : official journal of the European Society of Foot and Ankle Surgeons

Publication Date





212 - 217


Green Templeton College, University of Oxford, Woodstock Road, Oxford OX2 6HG, United Kingdom. Electronic address:


Humans, Arthropathy, Neurogenic, Diphosphonates, Alendronate, Imidazoles, Calcitonin, Alkaline Phosphatase, Hydroxyproline, Insulin-Like Growth Factor I, Immobilization, Skin Temperature, Bone Density Conservation Agents, RANK Ligand, Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic