PainSci summary of McAlindon 2017?This page is one of thousands in the PainScience.com bibliography. It is not a general article: it is focused on a single scientific paper, and it may provide only just enough context for the summary to make sense. Links to other papers and more general information are provided at the bottom of the page, as often as possible. ★★★★☆4-star ratings are for bigger/better studies and reviews published in more prestigious journals, with only quibbles. Ratings are a highly subjective opinion, and subject to revision at any time. If you think this paper has been incorrectly rated, please let me know.
This is 2-year trial of corticosteroid injections for knee osteoarthritis in 140 patients. Steroids were compared to saline injections, and fared poorly: they had no effect on pain, and a negative effect on cartilage. In theory, corticosteroids might suppress the inflammation that could be causing cartilage to erode in the first place; in practice, in this trial, there was more cartilage loss! Ruh roh. The authors note, “It is likely that the difference in cartilage loss rates between groups was due to an adverse effect of intra-articular corticosteroids … .”
By design, pain was not measured in the weeks after injection, when steroids are well known to have at least a temporary benefit. The study was structured to detect any long-term changes in pain.
original abstract†Abstracts here may not perfectly match originals, for a variety of technical and practical reasons. Some abstacts are truncated for my purposes here, if they are particularly long-winded and unhelpful. I occasionally add clarifying notes. And I make some minor corrections.
IMPORTANCE: Synovitis is common and is associated with progression of structural characteristics of knee osteoarthritis. Intra-articular corticosteroids could reduce cartilage damage associated with synovitis but might have adverse effects on cartilage and periarticular bone.
OBJECTIVE: To determine the effects of intra-articular injection of 40 mg of triamcinolone acetonide every 3 months on progression of cartilage loss and knee pain.
INTERVENTIONS: Intra-articular triamcinolone (n = 70) or saline (n = 70) every 12 weeks for 2 years.
Main Outcomes and Measures: Annual knee magnetic resonance imaging for quantitative evaluation of cartilage volume (minimal clinically important difference not yet defined), and Western Ontario and McMaster Universities Osteoarthritis index collected every 3 months (Likert pain subscale range, 0 [no pain] to 20 [extreme pain]; minimal clinically important improvement, 3.94).
RESULTS: Among 140 randomized patients (mean age, 58 [SD, 8] years, 75 women [54%]), 119 (85%) completed the study. Intra-articular triamcinolone resulted in significantly greater cartilage volume loss than did saline for a mean change in index compartment cartilage thickness of -0.21 mm vs -0.10 mm (between-group difference, -0.11 mm; 95% CI, -0.20 to -0.03 mm); and no significant difference in pain (-1.2 vs -1.9; between-group difference, -0.6; 95% CI, -1.6 to 0.3). The saline group had 3 treatment-related adverse events compared with 5 in the triamcinolone group and had a small increase in hemoglobin A1c levels (between-group difference, -0.2%; 95% CI, -0.5% to -0.007%).
CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE: Among patients with symptomatic knee osteoarthritis, 2 years of intra-articular triamcinolone, compared with intra-articular saline, resulted in significantly greater cartilage volume loss and no significant difference in knee pain. These findings do not support this treatment for patients with symptomatic knee osteoarthritis.
One article on PainScience.com cites McAlindon 2017 as a source:
- PS Save Yourself from Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome! — Patellofemoral pain syndrome (aka runner’s knee) explained and discussed in great detail, including every imaginable self-treatment option and all the available scientific evidence
This page is part of the PainScience BIBLIOGRAPHY, which contains plain language summaries of thousands of scientific papers & others sources. It’s like a highly specialized blog. A few highlights:
- Effectiveness of customised foot orthoses for Achilles tendinopathy: a randomised controlled trial. Munteanu 2015 Br J Sports Med.
- A Bayesian model-averaged meta-analysis of the power pose effect with informed and default priors: the case of felt power. Gronau 2017 Comprehensive Results in Social Psychology.
- The neck and headaches. Bogduk 2014 Neurol Clin.
- Agreement of self-reported items and clinically assessed nerve root involvement (or sciatica) in a primary care setting. Konstantinou 2012 Eur Spine J.
- Effect of NSAIDs on Recovery From Acute Skeletal Muscle Injury: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. Morelli 2017 Am J Sports Med.