(HealthDay News) – For adults with knee osteoarthritis, dextrose prolotherapy is associated with greater improvements in pain, function, and stiffness compared with saline injections or at-home exercise, according to a study published in the May/June issue of the Annals of Family Medicine.
David Rabago, MD, of the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health in Madison, and colleagues conducted a three-arm blinded, randomized controlled trial involving 90 adults with ≥3 months of painful knee osteoarthritis. Participants were randomized to receive blinded injection (dextrose prolotherapy or saline) or at-home exercise. Injections were provided at weeks one, five, and nine, with additional treatments at weeks 13 and 17, as needed. An exercise manual and in-person instruction were provided to exercise participants.
The researchers found that all groups reported an improvement in composite Western Ontario McMaster University Osteoarthritis Index (WOMAC) scores from baseline to 52 weeks. The improvement in WOMAC scores at 52 weeks was significantly more for the dextrose prolotherapy group compared with the saline or exercise groups, after adjustment for age, sex, and body mass index. In the prolotherapy group, the individual knee pain scores also improved more. High satisfaction was noted with prolotherapy and there were no adverse events reported.
“Prolotherapy resulted in clinically meaningful sustained improvement of pain, function, and stiffness scores for knee osteoarthritis compared with blinded saline injections and at-home exercises,” the authors write.