Comparative Effectiveness of Injection Therapies for Hemiplegic Shoulder Pain in Stroke: A Systematic Review and Network Meta-Analysis

Creative Commons License

Chiu Y., Chang K., Wu W., Hsu P., ÖZÇAKAR L.

PHARMACEUTICALS, vol.14, no.8, 2021 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Review
  • Volume: 14 Issue: 8
  • Publication Date: 2021
  • Doi Number: 10.3390/ph14080788
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus, Academic Search Premier, CAB Abstracts, EMBASE, Veterinary Science Database, Directory of Open Access Journals
  • Keywords: corticosteroid, hemiplegic shoulder, hyaluronic acid, injection, rehabilitation, TOXIN TYPE-A, SUPRASCAPULAR NERVE BLOCK, BOTULINUM-TOXIN, DOUBLE-BLIND, SPASTIC HEMIPLEGIA, SUBSTANCE-P, SURVIVORS
  • Hacettepe University Affiliated: Yes


Hemiplegic shoulder pain (HSP) hampers post-stroke functional recovery and is not well managed with conservative treatments. This systematic review aimed to examine the various injection therapies for HSP and investigate their effectiveness at different time points. The protocol of this meta-analysis was registered on INPLASY with a registration number of INPLASY202180010. PubMed, EMBASE, and Scopus were searched from their inception to 4 August 2021 for the clinical studies investigating comparative effectiveness of different injection regimens for treating hemiplegic shoulder pain in patients with stroke. The primary outcome was the weighted mean difference (WMD) on the visual analog scale (VAS) of pain reduction in the fourth-week and between the fourth and twenty-fourth weeks. Ranking probabilities of the WMD for each treatment were obtained using simulations. Seventeen studies with 595 participants were included. The network meta-analysis showed that at the fourth-week, intra-muscular botulinum toxin (BoNT) injections and suprascapular nerve blocks (SSNB) were superior to a placebo, with WMDs of 1.55 (95% CI, 0.09 to 3.01) and 1.44 (95% CI, 0.07 to 2.80), respectively. SSNB possessed the highest probability (53.3%) and appeared to be the best treatment in the fourth-week, followed by intra-muscular BoNT injections (42.6%). Intramuscular BoNT injections were better than the placebo, with a WMD of 1.57 (95% CI, 0.30 to 2.84) between the 4th and 24th weeks. Intramuscular BoNT injections had the highest probability (79.8%) as the best treatment between the 4th and 24th weeks. SSNB was likely to rank first in relieving HSP at the fourth post-treatment week, whereas intra-muscular BoNT injections had the highest probability to achieve the best treatment effectiveness in the post-injection period between the fourth and twenty-fourth weeks. However, as some of the included studies used a non-randomized controlled design, more randomized controlled trials are needed in the future to validate and better understand the short- and long-term efficacy of different injection therapies for management of HSP.