Common knee osteoarthritis jab ‘ineffective:’ Study

Common knee osteoarthritis jab ‘ineffective:’ Study

Common knee osteoarthritis jab ‘ineffective:’ Study

An injection commonly used to treat osteoarthritis in knees is hardly better than a placebo for relieving pain and increases the risk of harmful side effects, according to research.

Injections of hyaluronic acid have been prescribed since the 1970s, but despite previous research indicating the treatment is ineffective, its use has continued, and even increased, in some countries.

Knee osteoarthritis is a leading cause of disability among older people, the study said, citing 2020 research which found that more than 560 million people suffer from the condition worldwide.
It causes deterioration of the cartilage in knee joints, leading to pain and often difficulty walking.
Hyaluronic acid, a gel-like substance, has long been injected into the joint aiming to lubricate movement and decrease pain.

The treatment is also known as viscosupplementation.
A meta-analysis published in the BMJ journal looked at 169 previous trials that compared the injections to a placebo, or no treatment.
The researchers then whittled that down to 24 large placebo-controlled trials involving nearly 9,000 patients, in what is the largest review of the available data so far.
They found “strong conclusive evidence” that “viscosupplementation is associated with a clinically irrelevant reduction in pain intensity,” the study said.

They also said the treatment is “associated with a higher incidence of serious adverse events,” adding that it is “not only ineffective compared with a placebo but might also be seriously harmful.”
One of the study’s authors, Bruno da Costa of the University of Toronto, and his team carried out a similar review of the available research in 2012, and found the same results.
“We don’t need new trials,” he told AFP, saying the latest results were conclusive.
He said that further research could be done into whether a sub-group of patients could benefit from the treatment, but for the typical patient it should be considered at best as a last resort.