To evaluate the efficacy of platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injections versus placebo in the treatment of tendinopathy.
We performed a systematic literature search in MEDLINE, Embase, Scopus, CINAHL, Cochrane Library, and ClinicalTrials.gov through November 2020 to identify randomized controlled trials (RCTs) that evaluated the clinical efficacy of PRP versus placebo for the treatment of tendinopathy. Outcomes were analyzed on an intention-to-treat basis with random-effects models.
A total of 13 RCTs were included in this meta-analysis. The pooled analysis showed no significant difference in pain relief at 4 to 6 weeks (standard mean difference [SMD]: −0.18, 95% confidence intervals [CI]: −0.62 to 0.26), 12 weeks (SMD: −0.14, 95% CI: −0.55 to 0.26), and ≥24 weeks (SMD: −0.56, 95% CI: −1.16 to 0.05) or function improvement at 4 to 6 weeks (SMD: 0.11, 95% CI: −0.13 to 0.35), 12 weeks (SMD: 0.18, 95% CI: −0.13 to 0.49), and ≥24 weeks (SMD: 0.26, 95% CI: −0.14 to 0.66) for PRP compared with placebo in the treatment of tendinopathy. The sensitivity analysis indicated no significant difference in pain relief or function improvement at 12 weeks between PRP and placebo for different types of tendinopathies, treatment regimens, leukocyte concentrations, or cointerventions.
Platelet-rich plasma injection was not found to be superior to placebo in the treatment of tendinopathy, as measured by pain relief and functional improvement at 4 to 6, 12, and ≥24 weeks.