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      A Systematic Review of Dextrose Prolotherapy for Chronic Musculoskeletal Pain

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          The aim of this study was to systematically review dextrose (d-glucose) prolotherapy efficacy in the treatment of chronic musculoskeletal pain.

          DATA SOURCES

          Electronic databases PubMed, Healthline, OmniMedicalSearch, Medscape, and EMBASE were searched from 1990 to January 2016.


          Prospectively designed studies that used dextrose as the sole active prolotherapy constituent were selected.


          Two independent reviewers rated studies for quality of evidence using the Physiotherapy Evidence Database assessment scale for randomized controlled trials (RCTs) and the Downs and Black evaluation tool for non-RCTs, for level of evidence using a modified Sackett scale, and for clinically relevant pain score difference using minimal clinically important change criteria. Study population, methods, and results data were extracted and tabulated.


          Fourteen RCTs, 1 case–control study, and 18 case series studies met the inclusion criteria and were evaluated. Pain conditions were clustered into tendinopathies, osteoarthritis (OA), spinal/pelvic, and myofascial pain. The RCTs were high-quality Level 1 evidence (Physiotherapy Evidence Database ≥8) and found dextrose injection superior to controls in Osgood–Schlatter disease, lateral epicondylitis of the elbow, traumatic rotator cuff injury, knee OA, finger OA, and myofascial pain; in biomechanical but not subjective measures in temporal mandibular joint; and comparable in a short-term RCT but superior in a long-term RCT in low back pain. Many observational studies were of high quality and reported consistent positive evidence in multiple studies of tendinopathies, knee OA, sacroiliac pain, and iliac crest pain that received RCT confirmation in separate studies. Eighteen studies combined patient self-rating (subjective) with psychometric, imaging, and/or biomechanical (objective) outcome measurement and found both positive subjective and objective outcomes in 16 studies and positive objective but not subjective outcomes in two studies. All 15 studies solely using subjective or psychometric measures reported positive findings.


          Use of dextrose prolotherapy is supported for treatment of tendinopathies, knee and finger joint OA, and spinal/pelvic pain due to ligament dysfunction. Efficacy in acute pain, as first-line therapy, and in myofascial pain cannot be determined from the literature.

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          Most cited references 116

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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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            Back pain and sciatica.

             J W Frymoyer (1988)
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              Evaluating non-randomised intervention studies.

              To consider methods and related evidence for evaluating bias in non-randomised intervention studies. Systematic reviews and methodological papers were identified from a search of electronic databases; handsearches of key medical journals and contact with experts working in the field. New empirical studies were conducted using data from two large randomised clinical trials. Three systematic reviews and new empirical investigations were conducted. The reviews considered, in regard to non-randomised studies, (1) the existing evidence of bias, (2) the content of quality assessment tools, (3) the ways that study quality has been assessed and addressed. (4) The empirical investigations were conducted generating non-randomised studies from two large, multicentre randomised controlled trials (RCTs) and selectively resampling trial participants according to allocated treatment, centre and period. In the systematic reviews, eight studies compared results of randomised and non-randomised studies across multiple interventions using meta-epidemiological techniques. A total of 194 tools were identified that could be or had been used to assess non-randomised studies. Sixty tools covered at least five of six pre-specified internal validity domains. Fourteen tools covered three of four core items of particular importance for non-randomised studies. Six tools were thought suitable for use in systematic reviews. Of 511 systematic reviews that included non-randomised studies, only 169 (33%) assessed study quality. Sixty-nine reviews investigated the impact of quality on study results in a quantitative manner. The new empirical studies estimated the bias associated with non-random allocation and found that the bias could lead to consistent over- or underestimations of treatment effects, also the bias increased variation in results for both historical and concurrent controls, owing to haphazard differences in case-mix between groups. The biases were large enough to lead studies falsely to conclude significant findings of benefit or harm. Four strategies for case-mix adjustment were evaluated: none adequately adjusted for bias in historically and concurrently controlled studies. Logistic regression on average increased bias. Propensity score methods performed better, but were not satisfactory in most situations. Detailed investigation revealed that adequate adjustment can only be achieved in the unrealistic situation when selection depends on a single factor. Results of non-randomised studies sometimes, but not always, differ from results of randomised studies of the same intervention. Non-randomised studies may still give seriously misleading results when treated and control groups appear similar in key prognostic factors. Standard methods of case-mix adjustment do not guarantee removal of bias. Residual confounding may be high even when good prognostic data are available, and in some situations adjusted results may appear more biased than unadjusted results. Although many quality assessment tools exist and have been used for appraising non-randomised studies, most omit key quality domains. Healthcare policies based upon non-randomised studies or systematic reviews of non-randomised studies may need re-evaluation if the uncertainty in the true evidence base was not fully appreciated when policies were made. The inability of case-mix adjustment methods to compensate for selection bias and our inability to identify non-randomised studies that are free of selection bias indicate that non-randomised studies should only be undertaken when RCTs are infeasible or unethical. Recommendations for further research include: applying the resampling methodology in other clinical areas to ascertain whether the biases described are typical; developing or refining existing quality assessment tools for non-randomised studies; investigating how quality assessments of non-randomised studies can be incorporated into reviews and the implications of individual quality features for interpretation of a review's results; examination of the reasons for the apparent failure of case-mix adjustment methods; and further evaluation of the role of the propensity score.

                Author and article information

                Clin Med Insights Arthritis Musculoskelet Disord
                Clin Med Insights Arthritis Musculoskelet Disord
                Clinical Medicine Insights: Arthritis and Musculoskeletal Disorders
                Clinical Medicine Insights. Arthritis and Musculoskeletal Disorders
                Libertas Academica
                07 July 2016
                : 9
                : 139-159
                [1 ]Caring Medical Regenerative Medicine Clinics, Oak Park, IL, USA.
                [2 ]InQuill Medical Communications, Soquel, CA, USA.
                [3 ]Center for Healing and Regenerative Medicine, Austin, TX, USA.
                Author notes
                © 2016 the author(s), publisher and licensee Libertas Academica Ltd.

                This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons CC-BY-NC 3.0 License.



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