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      The effect of corticosteroid versus platelet-rich plasma injection therapies for the management of lateral epicondylitis: A systematic review

      1 , 2 , * , 1


      EDP Sciences

      Tennis elbow, Lateral epicondylitis, Epicondylopathy, Epicondylalgia Corticosteroid, Steroid injections, Platelet-rich plasma, PRP injections

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          Introduction: Lateral epicondylitis is a common musculoskeletal disorder of the upper limb. Corticosteroid injection has been widely used as a major mode of treatment. However, better understanding of the pathophysiology of the disease led to a major change in treating the disease, with new options including platelet-rich plasma (PRP) are currently used.

          Objectives/research aim: To systematically evaluate the effect of corticosteroid versus PRP injections for the treatment of LE.

          Hypothesis: PRP injections provide longer-term therapeutic effect and less rate of complications compared to corticosteroid injection.

          Level of evidence: Level 2 evidence (4 included studies are of level 1 evidence, 1 study of level 2 evidence).

          Design: Systematic Review (according to PRISMA guidelines).

          Methods: Eleven databases used to search for relevant primary studies comparing the effects of corticosteroid and PRP injections for the treatment of LE. Quality appraisal of studies performed using Cochrane Handbook for Systematic Reviews of Interventions Version 5.1.0, CASP Randomised Controlled Trial Checklist, and SIGN Methodology Checklist 2.

          Results: 732 papers were identified. Five randomised controlled trials (250 Patients) met the inclusion criteria. Clinical findings: Corticosteroid injections provided rapid symptomatic improvement with maximum effect at 6/8/8 weeks before symptoms recurrence, whereas PRP showed slower ongoing improvements up to 24/52/104 weeks(3 studies). Corticosteroid showed more rapid symptomatic improvement of symptoms compared to PRP up to the study end-point of 3 months(1 study). Comparable therapeutic effects of corticosteroid and PRP were observed at 6 weeks(1 study). Ultrasonographic Findings: (1) Doppler activity decreased more significantly in patients who received corticosteroid compared to PRP. (2) Reduced tendon thickness and more patients with cortical erosion noted in corticosteroid group whereas increased tendon thickness and less number of patients with common extensor tendon tears noted in PRP group. (3) Fewer patients reported Probe-induced tenderness and oedema in the common extensor tendon in both corticosteroid and PRP groups (2 studies).

          Conclusion: Corticosteroid injections provide rapid therapeutic effect in the short-term with recurrence of symptoms afterwards, compared to the relatively slower but longer-term effect of platelet-rich plasma.

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          Most cited references 68

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          The levels of evidence and their role in evidence-based medicine.

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            Efficacy and safety of corticosteroid injections and other injections for management of tendinopathy: a systematic review of randomised controlled trials.

            Few evidence-based treatment guidelines for tendinopathy exist. We undertook a systematic review of randomised trials to establish clinical efficacy and risk of adverse events for treatment by injection. We searched eight databases without language, publication, or date restrictions. We included randomised trials assessing efficacy of one or more peritendinous injections with placebo or non-surgical interventions for tendinopathy, scoring more than 50% on the modified physiotherapy evidence database scale. We undertook meta-analyses with a random-effects model, and estimated relative risk and standardised mean differences (SMDs). The primary outcome of clinical efficacy was protocol-defined pain score in the short term (4 weeks, range 0-12), intermediate term (26 weeks, 13-26), or long term (52 weeks, ≥52). Adverse events were also reported. 3824 trials were identified and 41 met inclusion criteria, providing data for 2672 participants. We showed consistent findings between many high-quality randomised controlled trials that corticosteroid injections reduced pain in the short term compared with other interventions, but this effect was reversed at intermediate and long terms. For example, in pooled analysis of treatment for lateral epicondylalgia, corticosteroid injection had a large effect (defined as SMD>0·8) on reduction of pain compared with no intervention in the short term (SMD 1·44, 95% CI 1·17-1·71, p<0·0001), but no intervention was favoured at intermediate term (-0·40, -0·67 to -0·14, p<0·003) and long term (-0·31, -0·61 to -0·01, p=0·05). Short-term efficacy of corticosteroid injections for rotator-cuff tendinopathy is not clear. Of 991 participants who received corticosteroid injections in studies that reported adverse events, only one (0·1%) had a serious adverse event (tendon rupture). By comparison with placebo, reductions in pain were reported after injections of sodium hyaluronate (short [3·91, 3·54-4·28, p<0·0001], intermediate [2·89, 2·58-3·20, p<0·0001], and long [3·91, 3·55-4·28, p<0·0001] terms), botulinum toxin (short term [1·23, 0·67-1·78, p<0·0001]), and prolotherapy (intermediate term [2·62, 1·36-3·88, p<0·0001]) for treatment of lateral epicondylalgia. Lauromacrogol (polidocanol), aprotinin, and platelet-rich plasma were not more efficacious than was placebo for Achilles tendinopathy, while prolotherapy was not more effective than was eccentric exercise. Despite the effectiveness of corticosteroid injections in the short term, non-corticosteroid injections might be of benefit for long-term treatment of lateral epicondylalgia. However, response to injection should not be generalised because of variation in effect between sites of tendinopathy. None. Copyright © 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
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              Positive effect of an autologous platelet concentrate in lateral epicondylitis in a double-blind randomized controlled trial: platelet-rich plasma versus corticosteroid injection with a 1-year follow-up.

              Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) has shown to be a general stimulation for repair. Purpose To determine the effectiveness of PRP compared with corticosteroid injections in patients with chronic lateral epicondylitis. Randomized controlled trial; Level of evidence, 1. The trial was conducted in 2 teaching hospitals in the Netherlands. One hundred patients with chronic lateral epicondylitis were randomly assigned in the PRP group (n = 51) or the corticosteroid group (n = 49). A central computer system carried out randomization and allocation to the trial group. Patients were randomized to receive either a corticosteroid injection or an autologous platelet concentrate injection through a peppering technique. The primary analysis included visual analog scores and DASH Outcome Measure scores (DASH: Disabilities of the Arm, Shoulder, and Hand). Successful treatment was defined as more than a 25% reduction in visual analog score or DASH score without a reintervention after 1 year. The results showed that, according to the visual analog scores, 24 of the 49 patients (49%) in the corticosteroid group and 37 of the 51 patients (73%) in the PRP group were successful, which was significantly different (P <.001). Furthermore, according to the DASH scores, 25 of the 49 patients (51%) in the corticosteroid group and 37 of the 51 patients (73%) in the PRP group were successful, which was also significantly different (P = .005). The corticosteroid group was better initially and then declined, whereas the PRP group progressively improved. Treatment of patients with chronic lateral epicondylitis with PRP reduces pain and significantly increases function, exceeding the effect of corticosteroid injection. Future decisions for application of the PRP for lateral epicondylitis should be confirmed by further follow-up from this trial and should take into account possible costs and harms as well as benefits.

                Author and article information

                SICOT J
                SICOT J
                EDP Sciences
                21 March 2018
                : 4
                : ( publisher-idID: sicotj/2018/01 )
                [1 ] The University of Salford, Salford UK
                [2 ] Trauma and Orthopaedics department, Central Manchester University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust UK
                Author notes
                [* ]Corresponding author: W.O.Ben-Nafa@ 123456edu.salford.ac.uk
                sicotj170055 10.1051/sicotj/2017062
                © The Authors, published by EDP Sciences, 2018

                This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

                Page count
                Figures: 1, Tables: 8, Equations: 0, References: 70, Pages: 16
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