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Aprotinin in the management of Achilles tendinopathy: a randomised controlled trial


Background: Achilles tendinopathy is a common condition, which can become chronic and interfere with athletic performance. The proteinase inhibitor aprotinin (as injection) has been found to improve recovery in patellar tendinopathy1 (evidence level 1b2) and Achilles tendinopathy.3 Internationally this therapy is being used based on this limited knowledge base.

Aim: To evaluate whether aprotinin injections decrease time to recovery in Achilles tendinopathy.

Method: A prospective, randomised, double blind, placebo controlled trial was performed comparing saline (0.9%) plus local anaesthetic injections and eccentric exercises with aprotinin (30 000 kIU) plus local anaesthetic injection and eccentric exercise. Three injections were given, each a week apart. In total, 26 patients, with 33 affected tendons, were enrolled for this study.

Results: At no follow up point (2, 4, 12, or 52 weeks) was there any statistically significant difference between the treatment group and placebo. This included VISA-A scores4 and secondary outcome measures. However, a trend for improvement over placebo was noted.

Conclusion: In this study on Achilles tendinopathy, aprotinin was not shown to offer any statistically significant benefit over placebo. Larger multicentre trials are needed to evaluate the efficacy of aprotinin in Achilles tendinopathy.

  • VISA-A, Victoria Institute of Sport Assessment-Achilles
  • MMP, matrix metalloproteinase
  • TIMP, tissue inhibitor of matrix metalloproteinases
  • Achilles
  • tendinopathy

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