Knee Osteoarthritis Injection Choices: Platelet- Rich Plasma (PRP) Versus Hyaluronic Acid

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Knee Osteoarthritis Injection Choices: Platelet- Rich Plasma (PRP) Versus Hyaluronic Acid
Key Take-Away: 

Hyaluronic acid is one of the regular drugs prescribed for the treatment of knee osteoarthritis. Several modern therapeutic methods like platelet rich plasma have now come into play but there is still a strong need to study their long-term effects. The group of investigators has addressed this area of unmet need by comparing the efficacy of Platelet-rich plasma and Hyaluronic acid in patients with knee osteoarthritis. 

Knee osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common articular disease. Different methods are used to alleviate the symptoms of patients with knee OA, including analgesics, physical therapy, exercise prescription, and intra-articular injections (glucocorticoids, hyaluronic acid [HA], etc). New studies have focused on modern therapeutic methods that stimulate cartilage healing process and improve the damage, including the use of platelet-rich plasma (PRP) as a complex of growth factors. Due to the high incidence of OA and its consequences, we decided to study the long-term effect of intraarticular injection of PRP and HA on clinical outcome and quality of life of patients with knee OA.

ABSTRACT: 
Background: 

Knee osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common articular disease.

Different methods are used to alleviate the symptoms of patients with knee OA, including analgesics, physical therapy, exercise prescription, and intra-articular injections (glucocorticoids, hyaluronic acid [HA], etc). New studies have focused on modern therapeutic methods that stimulate cartilage healing process and improve the damage, including the use of platelet-rich plasma (PRP) as a complex of growth factors. Due to the high incidence of OA and its consequences, we decided to study the long-term effect of intraarticular injection of PRP and HA on clinical outcome and quality of life of patients with knee OA.

Methods: 

This non-placebo-controlled randomized clinical trial involved 160 patients affected by knee OA, grade 1-4 of Kellgren-Lawrence scale.

In the PRP group (n = 87), two intra-articular injections at 4-week interval were applied, and in the HA group (n = 73), three doses of intra-articular injection at 1-week interval were applied. All patients were prospectively evaluated before and at 12 months after the treatment by Western Ontario and McMaster Universities Arthritis Index (WOMAC) and SF-36 questionnaires. The results were analyzed using SPSS 16.1 software (RCT code: IRCT2014012113442N5).

Results: 

At the 12-month follow-up, WOMAC pain score and bodily pain significantly improved in both groups; however, better results were determined in the PRP group compared to the HA group (P < 0.001).

Other WOMAC and SF-36 parameters improved only in the PRP group. More improvement (but not statistically significant) was achieved in patients with grade 2 OA in both the groups.

Conclusion: 

This study suggests that PRP injection is more efficacious than HA injection in reducing symptoms and improving quality of life and is a therapeutic option in select patients with knee OA who have not responded to conventional treatment.

Clin Med Insights Arthritis Musculoskelet Disord. 2015 Jan 7; 8:1-8