At the European League Against Rheumatism Annual Congress (EULAR 2014), new research showed that ultrasound-guided injections of growth factors-containing platelet-rich plasma (PRP) are no more effective than saline injection sin treating recently developed epicondylitis.

The study evaluated patients with recent onset epicondylitis (pain for <3 months) as confirmed by MRi and/or ultrasound. They were treated with 2 ultrasound-guided injections every 4 weeks. A total of 50 patients received either PRP (eg, ACP, Arthrex) or saline solution and were monitored at Baseline, 1, 3, 6, and 12 months.

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The primary endpoint was the relative improvement from Baseline to 6 months in pain score (PS) on the visual analog scale (1–10). Secondary endpoints included pain assessment on isometric contraction of the 2nd radial and of the posterior forearm muscle, the Roles-Maudsley score, the proportion of asymptomatic patients (PS <1) at 6 and 12 months, and the proportion of patients with persistent pain (PS >2) at 12 months.

At 6 months, no statistically significant difference was found between the groups for mean relative improvement in pain (ACP 54.7% vs. control 63.6%; P=0.24) and no statistically significant difference was found for the secondary endpoints. Pain score decreased significantly between 2 consecutive visits from Baseline 6.8±0.8 to 2.5±1.6 (PRP) at 6 months and from Baseline 7±1 to 2.1±1.6 (control) at 6 months. At 12 months, PS was at 1.65±1.5 (PRP) and 1.8±2.1 (control).

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