Randomized controlled trial comparing hyaluronic acid, platelet-rich plasma and the combination of both in the treatment of mild and moderate osteoarthritis of the knee

J Stem Cells Regen Med. 2016 Nov 29;12(2):69-78. doi: 10.46582/jsrm.1202011. eCollection 2016.


Objective: This study aims at evaluating the clinical effects of Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) and Hyaluronic Acid (HA) as individual treatments for mild to moderate Osteoarthritis (OA) and it also examines the potential synergistic effects of PRP in combination with HA. Research continues to emerge examining the potential therapeutic efficacy of HA and PRP as autologous injectable treatments for joint arthritis. However, there is a paucity of research investigating the effects of combining HA and PRP on pain and functional status in patients with OA. Design: In this multi-center, randomized, controlled, double blind, prospective trial, 105 patients with mild to moderate knee osteoarthritis, who met the study criteria, were randomly allocated to one of three interventions: HA (n=36), PRP (n=36), or HA+PRP (n=33). Each patient received 3 intra-articular knee injections of their assigned substance, with 2 week intervals between each injection. Clinical outcomes were evaluated using the Western Ontario and McMaster Universities Arthritis Index (WOMAC) and Visual Analogue Scale (VAS) questionnaire at baseline and after 1,3,6 and 12 months. Results: The study showed that the PRP group have significant reduction in VAS scores at 1 (p= 0.003), 3 (p= 0.0001), 6 (p= 0.0001) and 12 (p= 0.000) months when compared to HA. In addition, the PRP group illustrated greater improvement in WOMAC physical activity scale at 12 months (p= 0.008) when compared to the HA group. Combining HA and PRP resulted in a significant decreases in pain (p=0.0001) and functional limitation (p=0.0001) when compared to HA alone at 1 year post treatment; and significantly increased physical function at 1 (p=0.0004) and 3 (p=.011) months when compared to PRP alone. Conclusion: The findings of the study support the use of autologous PRP as an effective treatment of mild to moderate knee osteoarthritis. It also shows that the combination of HA and PRP resulted to better outcomes than HA alone up to 1 year and PRP alone up to 3 months. Furthermore, the results suggest that combination of PRP and HA could potentially provide better functional outcomes in the first 30 days after treatment with both PRP and HA alone.

Keywords: Hyaluronic acid; Joint pathology; Knee; Osteoarthritis; Platelet-rich plasma.