ACR: No long-term benefit for steroid injections

Steroid injections do not slow the progression of knee OA or improve patient outcomes in the long term, research confirms.

The two year study presented this weekend in San Diego at the American College of Rheumatology annual meeting found no difference in (40mg)  WOMAC scores between patients randomised to intra-articular injections of triamcinolone hexacetonide every 12 weeks or placebo injections of saline.

The researchers also saw few differences in the results of the two groups when asked to complete a test that required them to rise from a seated position in a chair as well as walking test.

Patients that received the steroid injections had a greater loss of cartilage based on the Cartilage Damage Index scores, but the difference was small and did not appear to be clinically meaningful, found the study authors led by Dr Timothy McAlindon Chief of Rheumatology at Tufts Medical Center.

The researchers noted that they did not set out to capture the already known benefits of steroid injections in the short term.

“Additionally, the dose was fairly small (40 mgs), and we might have seen greater effects with a higher strength formulation,” they said.

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