Objective: To assess the efficacy and longer-term effectiveness of dextrose prolotherapy injections in participants with temporomandibular dysfunction.
Patients and methods: A randomized controlled trial with masked allocation was conducted from January 14, 2013, through December 19, 2015. Forty-two participants (with 54 joints) meeting temporomandibular dysfunction criteria were randomized (1:1) to 3 monthly intra-articular injections (20% dextrose/0.2% lidocaine or 0.2% lidocaine) followed by as-needed dextrose/0.2% lidocaine injections through 1 year. Primary and secondary outcome measures included a 0 to 10 Numerical Rating Scale score for facial pain and jaw dysfunction; maximal interincisal opening (MIO) measured in millimeters, percentage of joints with 50% or more change (improvement) in pain and function, and satisfaction.
Results: Randomization produced a control group with more female participants (P=.03), longer pain duration (P=.01), and less MIO (P=.01). Upon 3-month analysis, including pertinent covariates, dextrose group participants reported decreased jaw pain (4.3±2.9 points vs 1.8±2.7 points; P=.02), jaw dysfunction (3.5±2.8 points vs 1.0±2.1 points; P=.008), and improved MIO (1.5±4.1 mm vs -1.8±5.1 mm; P=.006). Control group participants received dextrose injections beginning at 3 months. No between-group differences were noted at 12 months; pooled data suggested that jaw pain, jaw function, and MIO improved by 5.2±2.7 points (68%), 4.1±2.8 points (64%), and 2.1±5.5 mm, respectively. Pain and dysfunction improved by at least 50% in 38 of 54 (70%) and 39 of 54 (72%) jaws, respectively.
Conclusion: Intra-articular dextrose injection (prolotherapy) resulted in substantial improvement in jaw pain, function, and MIO compared with masked control injection at 3 months; clinical improvements endured to 12 months. Satisfaction was high.
Trial registration: clinicaltrials.gov Identifier: NCT01706172.
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