Online first

Acta Reumatológica Portuguesa - Online First: 2020-06-16
Review article

Hip osteoarthritis treatment with intra-articular injections: hyaluronic acid versus glucocorticoid – a systematic review

Vilabril F, Rocha-Melo J, Gonçalves J, Vilaça-Costa J, Brito I


Objective: To compare the effects of intra-articular injection of glucocorticoid (GC) and hyaluronic acid (HA) on pain and disability caused by hip osteoarthritis (HO). Materials and methods: A systematic review of the literature was carried out within MEDLINE (via PubMed), Web of Science, Scopus and Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL) databases, using the keywords (MeSH words): "hip osteoarthritis", "glucocorticoid", “corticosteroid”, "corticoid", "hyaluronic acid" and "viscosupplementation". Two independent authors applied inclusion and exclusion criteria, selecting randomized clinical trials with direct comparison between intra-articular injection of GC and HA in patients with HO. Results: 157 articles were found in the initial search. After applying the exclusion criteria, 36 articles were read, with final selection of 3 randomized clinical trials (n = 484). Two studies compared the administration of these products with placebo (saline) - and one also compared it with a fourth group of patients undergoing only physical therapy. Qvistgaard et al. demonstrated clinical superiority of GC (moderate clinical benefit) and HA (marginal clinical benefit) in pain, at 4 weeks, both compared to placebo; however, there was no statistically significant difference between GC and HA during the 12-week follow-up. Atchia et al. reported a statistically significant improvement in pain and function in patients treated with GC during 8 weeks. Spitzer et al. demonstrated an overall clinical response in patients in both groups throughout the study, with a faster response for those treated with GC. However, the authors highlight the superiority in all outcome measures of HA compared to GC in cases of moderate HO, at 26 weeks. Discussion: Few studies directly compare the clinical effect between intra-articular injections of GC and HA in HO, showing heterogeneity in the type of population, number of administrations, formulation of HA and follow-up period. The analyzed studies had a short follow-up time. The results obtained seem to demonstrate a superiority of GC compared to HA in managing pain, namely in the speed of clinical response. However, Spitzer et al. demonstrated an overall superiority of HA in patients with moderate HO, which suggests that optimal selection of patients remains to be defined.