DG Journal Club
JAMA Netw Open. 2022 Apr 1; 5(4): e224852
Importance Intra-articular (IA) glucocorticoid injection is widely used in patients with knee osteoarthritis (OA), but the safety of this technique is in question among physicians. Intramuscular (IM) glucocorticoid injection could be an alternative approach.
Objective To investigate whether an IM glucocorticoid injection is noninferior to an IA glucocorticoid injection in reducing knee pain for patients with knee OA in primary care.
Design, Setting, and Participants The KIS trial, a multicenter, open-label, randomized clinical noninferiority trial including patients with symptomatic knee OA, was conducted in 80 primary care general practices in the southwest of the Netherlands. The study was conducted from March 1, 2018, to July 28, 2020.
Interventions Patients were randomly allocated to receive an injection of triamcinolone acetonide, 40 mg, either IM in the ipsilateral ventrogluteal region or IA in the knee joint. All patients were followed up for 24 weeks.
Main Outcomes and Measures The pain score at 4 weeks measured with Knee Injury and Osteoarthritis Outcome Score (range, 0-100; 0 indicates extreme pain), with a noninferiority margin of -7 (IM minus IA). A per-protocol analysis was prespecified as the primary analysis.
Results A total of 145 patients (94 women [65%]; mean [SD]age, 67  years) were included; of these, 138 patients (IM, 72; IA, 66) were included in the per-protocol analysis. Clinically relevant improvements in knee pain were reached up to 12 weeks after the injection in both groups. At 4 weeks, the estimated mean difference in the Knee Injury and Osteoarthritis Outcome Score between the 2 groups was -3.4 (95% CI, -10.1 to 3.3). Noninferiority could not be declared because the lower limit exceeded the noninferiority margin. Intramuscular injection was noninferior to IA injection at 8 (mean difference, 0.7; 95% CI, -6.5 to 7.8) and 24 (mean difference, 1.6; 95% CI, -5.7 to 9.0) weeks. No significant difference was found among all the secondary outcomes. These results were similar for the sensitivity analysis in an intention-to-treat population. The most frequently reported adverse events were hot flush (IM, 7 [10%]vs IA, 14 [21%]) and headache (IM, 10 [14%]vs IA, 12 [18%]), and all events were classified as nonserious.
Conclusions and Relevance Based on the findings of this trial, among patients with knee OA in primary care, IM glucocorticoid injection could present an inferior effect in reducing pain at 4 weeks compared with IA injection. Noninferiority of an IM injection was observed at 8 and 24 weeks after injection. This trial provides data for shared decision-making, taking into account the advantages and disadvantages of both types of injections.