Are corticosteroid injections more beneficial than anaesthetic injections alone in the management of rotator cuff-related shoulder pain? A systematic review.
Minns Lowe, Catherine
Objective To compare the effectiveness of corticosteroid injections to local anaesthetic injections in the management of rotator cuff-related shoulder pain (RCRSP). Design Systematic review with best evidence synthesis. Data sources The Cochrane, PubMed, CINAHL Plus, PEDro and EMBASE electronic databases were searched (inception until 8 June 2017). Reference lists of included articles were also hand searched. Eligibility criteria Two reviewers independently evaluated eligibility. Randomised controlled trials (RCTs) were included if they compared subacromial injections of corticosteroid with anaesthetic injections. Two reviewers independently extracted data regarding short-term, midterm and long-term outcomes for pain, self-reported function, range of motion and patient-perceived improvement. Results Thirteen RCTs (n=1013) were included. Four trials (n=475) were judged as being at low risk of bias. Three studies of low risk of bias favoured the use of corticosteroid over anaesthetic-only injections in the short term (up to 8 weeks). There was strong evidence of no significant difference between injection types in midterm outcomes (12-26 weeks). There was limited evidence of no significant difference between injection types in long-term outcomes. Conclusion Corticosteroid injections may have a short-term benefit (up to 8 weeks) over local anaesthetic injections alone in the management of RCRSP. Beyond 8 weeks, there was no evidence to suggest a benefit of corticosteroid over local anaesthetic injections. Trial registration number PROSPERO CRD42016033161.