Corticosteroids quadruple risk of tennis elbow recurrence at 1 year

From Rheumatology News, 26 February 2013:

Corticosteroids may offer short-term relief from the symptoms of lateral epicondylalgia, but they significantly increase the risk of recurrence compared with physiotherapy or placebo, according to a randomized controlled trial reported in JAMA.

The 1-year study of 165 patients also examined the interaction between corticosteroids and physiotherapy, finding that patients randomized to placebo injection and physiotherapy had better outcomes than did those who received corticosteroids and physiotherapy, or corticosteroids alone.

The senior author of the study, Bill Vicenzino, Ph.D., said the study was not quite the death knell for use of corticosteroids in the treatment of lateral epicondylalgia but it did call for more careful consideration.

“The take-home message is that both physician and patient need to be informed that there’s a higher risk of recurrence and delayed healing and that other approaches should be taken, such as good exercise, good advice, and physiotherapy, and then if that doesn’t work, then maybe you need to consider steroids,” Dr. Vicenzino of the University of Queensland, Australia, said in an interview. Read more.

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