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Papers: 21 Jan 2023 - 3 Feb 2023

2023 Jan 12

Int J Mol Sci



Intra-Articular Injection of Botulinum Toxin for the Treatment of Knee Osteoarthritis: A Systematic Review of Randomized Controlled Trials.


Sconza C, Leonardi G, Carfì C, Kon E, Respizzi S, Scaturro D, Letizia Mauro G, Massazza G, Di Matteo B
Int J Mol Sci. 2023 Jan 12; 24(2).
PMID: 36674999.


The purpose of the present paper was to review the available evidence on intra-articular botulinum toxin (BTX) injection in the treatment of knee osteoarthritis and to compare it to other conservative treatment options. A systematic review of the literature was performed on the PubMed, Scopus, Cochrane Library, Web of Science, Pedro and Research Gate databases with the following inclusion criteria: (1) randomized controlled trials (RCTs), (2) written in the English language, and (3) published on indexed journals in the last 20 years (2001-2021) dealing with the use of BTX intra-articular injection for the treatment of knee OA. The risk of bias was assessed using the Cochrane Risk of Bias tool for RCTs. Nine studies involving 811 patients in total were included. Patients in the control groups received different treatments: conventional physiotherapy, hyaluronic acid injection or prolotherapy or a combination thereof in 5 studies, steroid infiltrative therapy (triamcinolone) in 1 study, placebo in 2, and local anesthetic treatment in 1 study. Looking at the quality of the available literature, two of the included studies reached "Good quality" standard, three were ranked as "Fair", and the rest were considered "Poor". No major complications or serious adverse events were reported following intra-articular BTX, which provided encouraging pain relief, improved motor function, and quality of life. Based on the available data, no clear indication emerged from the comparison of BTX with other established treatments for knee OA. The analysis of the available RCTs on BTX intra-articular injection for the treatment of knee OA revealed modest methodological quality. However, based on the data retrieved, botulinum toxin has been proven to provide good short-term outcomes, especially in patients with pain sensitization, by modulating neurotransmitter release, peripheral nociceptive transduction, and acting on the control of chronic pain from central sensitization.