Hyaluronic acid or Corticosteroid Injections: Know which is more effective in treating knee osteoarthritis?
Osteoarthritis (OA) is characterized by painful inflammation of joints which occurs due to the breakdown of cartilage or low friction surface between joints. This causes rigidity, pain and swelling in joints. Disease modifying medications like hyaluronic acid (HA) and corticosteroids (CS) for treating knee OA is of particular importance as it may extend the time to undergo surgery.
Recently, a group of researchers conducted a study comparing the effectiveness of intra-articular HA and CS for knee OA. The study included 140 patients with knee OA, who were then randomized to receive intra-articular injection of either hyaluronic acid or corticosteroid. Patients were examined by an independent evaluator with the Western Ontario and McMaster University Osteoarthritis Index (WOMAC), Knee injury and Osteoarthritis Outcome Score (KOOS), and the visual analog pain scale.
In CS group, mean age of the patients was 57 ± 1.9 years and in HA group, it was 58.5 ± 8.3 years. There was no improvement in pain and stiffness in both the groups as per WOMAC score. KOOS score represented an improvement in symptoms in both the groups after 3 months. Also, both groups showed improvement in daily activity.
Results of the study showed prominent difference in the duration of effectiveness between two groups. However, duration of pain relief was superior in HA group than CS group. These findings recommend use of intra-articular HA every 3 months for knee joint OA which is definitely more convenient for patients than CS which has to be injected every 2 months.