The comparative efficacy of various Corticosteroid (CS) injections commonly used to treat musculoskeletal conditions has not been systematically studied. Our objective is to synthesize data about comparative efficacy of various CS used for intra-articular and periarticular soft tissue injections. Online databases were searched including MEDLINE, Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, and Database of Abstracts of Reviews of Effectiveness, and bibliographies of studies till November 2013. We included all randomized controlled trials comparing two CS for intra-articular and periarticular injections, selected according to Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic reviews and Meta-Analyses methodology. Seven good quality trials were selected for qualitative data synthesis. Two trials comparing triamcinolone hexacetonide (TH) and methylprednisolone (MP) for knee arthritis suggested faster pain relief with TH for rheumatoid arthritis (RA) at day 7 (p < 0.05) and osteoarthritis (OA) at week 3 (visual analogue scale, 33 mm vs 14 mm, p < 0.01) but a similar long-term efficacy. One trial suggested faster pain relief with MP compared to triamcinolone acetonide (TA) for rotator cuff tendonitis at 2 weeks (percentage of patients improving 92 % vs. 50 %; p = 0.02) but similar long-term efficacy, while another trial suggested no difference between TA and MP for knee OA. Two trials for knee arthritis suggested a substantially better efficacy for TH than TA (response rate at 24 months 77 % vs 39 %; p = 0.001) and betamethasone (BM) at day 42 (p < 0.01). There is paucity of data regarding comparative efficacy of various CS injections. Limited number of studies favored TH over other CS (TA, MP, BM).
- Systematic review
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