Periarticular Corticosteroid Injection in the Therapeutic Approach of Musculoskeletal Disease in General Practice: A systematic Review

Irene Trindade


Introduction: Periarticular corticosteroid injection utilization by General Practitioners treating musculoskeletal disease in primary health care system is internationally acknowledged. This article aims at analyzing this evidence and contributing to the discussion of a potential development of the technique in Portugal.
Material and Methods: Qualitative analysis of randomized control trials, cost-effectiveness studies, cross-sectional studies, retrospective cohort studies and observational studies, using PRISMA model. Data Sources: PubMed, Cochrane Library and Essential Evidence Plus. Eligibility criteria: corticosteroid injection mention in the treatment of musculoskeletal disease and an element that indicates primary health care context.
Results: Nine randomized control trials, three cost-effectiveness studies, three cross-sectional studies, three descriptive studies and one retrospective cohort study were reviewed. Most success parameters of corticosteroid injections performed by general practitioners showed short term efficacy; at long term they did not outstand other therapeutic options. The balance between the economic burden ascribed to this technique utilization in primary health care context and gain in subject’s quality of life is favorable. The eleven studies assessing security registered only minor side effects and no serious ones.
Discussion: The periarticular corticosteroid injection technique performance places it as a therapeutic option treating musculoskeletal disease in Portuguese primary health care. Nevertheless further evidence is required to support its efficacy and safety parameters, namely at national level.
Conclusion: Corticosteroid injection utilization in primary health care constitutes an effective and safe option, with the potential to improve primary health care service rendering in an economically sustainable way.


Adrenal Cortex Hormones; General Practice; Injections; Primary Health Care.

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