HealthDay News — Genicular nerve block offers pain relief for patients with knee osteoarthritis, according to a study published online Nov. 11 in Arthritis & Rheumatology to coincide with the annual meeting of the American College of Rheumatology, held from Nov. 10 to 14 in Philadelphia.
Ernst M. Shanahan, B.M.B.S., M.P.H., Ph.D., from Flinders University in Adelaide, Australia, and colleagues performed a 12-week randomized trial of genicular nerve block in 59 patients with knee osteoarthritis. Within two weeks of randomization, patients in the active arm received three injections of 5.7 mg celestone chronodose (1 mL) and 0.5 percent bupivacaine (3 mL) to the inferomedial, superomedial, and superolateral genicular nerves, while patients in the placebo arm received injections of normal saline (31 and 28 patients, respectively). Patients recorded their pain and disability on a 100-mm visual analog scale (VAS) at baseline and at weeks 2, 4, 8, and 12.
The researchers found that improvements in pain scores were reported by patients in the active group at two, four, eight, and 12 weeks, with a reduction of the effect over time. At baseline and weeks 2, 4, 8, and 12, VAS scores were 6.2 versus 5.3, 2.7 versus 4.7, 3.2 versus 5.1, 3.9 versus 4.9, and 4.6 versus 5.1, respectively, in the active versus placebo group.
“This study demonstrates that genicular nerve block is an effective short-term therapy for pain management in people with knee osteoarthritis,” Shanahan said in a statement. “We think it may be a useful treatment option for this group of people, in particular those waiting for, or wishing to defer surgery.”