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Mayo Clin Proc. 2019 May;94(5):820-832. doi: 10.1016/j.mayocp.2018.07.023. Epub 2019 Mar 14.

Treatment of Temporomandibular Dysfunction With Hypertonic Dextrose Injection (Prolotherapy): A Randomized Controlled Trial With Long-term Partial Crossover.

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Department of Family Practice, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada.
Private Practice, Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Roeland Park, KS. Electronic address:
Department of Family Medicine, Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong.
Department of Biomedical and Health Informatics, University of Missouri-Kansas City, School of Medicine, Kansas City, MO.
Department of Family Medicine and Community Health, University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, Madison, WI.



To assess the efficacy and longer-term effectiveness of dextrose prolotherapy injections in participants with temporomandibular dysfunction.


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.


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.


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: Identifier: NCT01706172.

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