A prospective randomized controlled trial of injection of dexamethasone versus triamcinolone for idiopathic trigger finger

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Ring D, Lozano-Calderón S, Shin R, Bastian P, Mudgal C, Jupiter J. J Hand Surg [Am]. 2008 Apr;33(4):516-22. PURPOSE: This study was designed to test the null hypothesis that there is no difference in resolution of triggering 3 months after injection with either a soluble (dexamethasone) or insoluble (triamcinolone) corticosteroid for idiopathic trigger finger. METHODS: Eighty-four patients were enrolled in a prospective randomized controlled trial comparing dexamethasone and triamcinolone injection for idiopathic trigger finger. Sixty-seven patients completed the 6-week follow-up (35 triamcinolone arm, 32 dexamethasone arm), and 72 patients completed the 3-month follow-up (41 triamcinolone arm, 31 dexamethasone arm). Outcome measures included the Disabilities of the Arm, Shoulder, and Hand (DASH) questionnaire, trigger finger grading according to Quinnell, and satisfaction on a visual analog scale. To preserve autonomy, patients were permitted additional injections and operative treatment at any time. Twenty-five patients requested a second injection (10 triamcinolone arm, 15 dexamethasone arm), and 21 elected operative treatment (10 triamcinolone arm, 11 dexamethasone arm) during the study period. The analysis was according to intention to treat principles. RESULTS: Six weeks after injection, absence of triggering was documented in 22 of 35 patients in the triamcinolone cohort and in 12 of 32 patients in the dexamethasone cohort. The rates 3 months after injection were 27 of 41 in the triamcinolone cohort and 22 of 31 in the dexamethasone cohort. The triamcinolone cohort had significantly better satisfaction and Quinnell grades than did the dexamethasone cohort at the 6-week follow-up but not at the 3-month follow-up. There were no significant differences between Disabilities of the Arm, Shoulder, and Hand scores at the 6-week follow-up and the 3-month follow-up. After the close of the study, there were 8 recurrences among patients with documented absence of triggering in the triamcinolone cohort and 1 in the dexamethasone cohort. CONCLUSIONS: Although there were no differences 3 months after injection, our data suggest that triamcinolone may have a more rapid but ultimately less durable effect on idiopathic trigger finger than does dexamethasone. TYPE OF STUDY/LEVEL OF EVIDENCE: Therapeutic I.

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