Early trials of intra-articular corticosteroids showed equal systemic absorption of methylprednisolone in patients with rheumatic and osteoarthritic hands 42 and knees. 43 This suggests that steroid pharmacokinetics, rather than disease-related factors, should guide steroid selection. A recent review by the National Health Service of the United Kingdom 44 recommends triamcino-lone and methylprednisolone as preferred agents for injection of large joints (., knee). For smaller joints (., finger), either hydrocortisone or methylprednisolone (Hydeltrasol, brand no longer available in the United States) is recommended. Tables 5 and 6 45 compare commonly available steroid preparations.
Intramuscular Injection: Provides an extended duration of therapeutic effect and fewer side effects of the kind associated with oral corticosteroid therapy, particularly gastro-intestinal reactions such as peptic ulceration. Studies indicate that, following a single intramuscular dose of 80 mg triamcinolone acetonide, adrenal suppression occurs within 24 - 48 hours and then gradually returns to normal, usually in approximately three weeks. This finding correlates closely with the extended duration of therapeutic action of triamcinolone acetonide.