Knee osteoarthritis (KOA) is a significant health problem with lifetime risk of development estimated to be 45%. Effective nonsurgical treatments are needed for the management of symptoms.
We designed a network meta-analysis to determine clinically relevant effectiveness of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, acetaminophen, intra-articular (IA) corticosteroids, IA platelet-rich plasma, and IA hyaluronic acid compared with each other as well as with oral and IA placebos. We used PubMed, EMBASE, and Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials to perform a systematic search of KOA treatments with no date limits and last search on October 7, 2015. Article inclusion criteria considered the following: target population, randomized controlled study design, English language, human subjects, treatments and outcomes of interest, ≥30 patients per group, and consistent follow-up. Using the best available evidence, two abstractors independently extracted pain and function data at or near the most common follow-up time.
For pain, all active treatments showed significance over oral placebo, with IA corticosteroids having the largest magnitude of effect and significant difference only over IA placebo. For function, no IA treatments showed significance compared with either placebo, and naproxen was the only treatment showing clinical significance compared with oral placebo. Cumulative probabilities showed naproxen to be the most effective individual treatment, and when combined with IA corticosteroids, it is the most probable to improve pain and function.
Naproxen ranked most effective among conservative treatments of KOA and should be considered when treating pain and function because of its relative safety and low cost. The best available evidence was analyzed, but there were instances of inconsistency in the design and duration among articles, potentially affecting uniform data inclusion.
From the Department of Orthopaedics, Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, Lebanon, NH (Dr. Jevsevar), American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, Rosemont, IL (Mr. Shores, Mr. Mullen, Ms. Schulte, and Dr. Cummins), and Franciscan Orthopedic Associates, Tacoma, WA (Dr. Brown).
Correspondence to Dr. Cummins: firstname.lastname@example.org
Dr. Jevsevar has received research support as a principal investigator from DePuy and is a board member or committee member of the American Association of Hip and Knee Surgeons. Dr. Brown holds stock or stock options in KareMetrix; has received other financial or material support from the HealthTrust Purchasing Group and Medical/Orthopaedic publications editorial/governing board (Journal of Orthopaedic Trauma); and is a board member or committee member of the American Society for Testing and Materials. None of the following authors or any immediate family member has received anything of value from or has stock or stock options held in a commercial company or institution related directly or indirectly to the subject of this article: Mr. Shores, Mr. Mullen, Ms. Schulte, and Dr. Cummins.