BACKGROUND: Early mobilization after total hip replacement (THR) is key for fast recovery but is often limited by pain. Oral enzyme combinations (OECs) have demonstrated anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving effects.
OBJECTIVES AND DESIGN: This prospective, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled exploratory trial evaluated the effects of pre- and post-operative use of OEC (90 mg bromelain, 48 mg trypsin, 100 mg rutoside) following elective THR, on post-operative recovery.
METHODS: Candidates for primary elective cementless THR owing to osteoarthritis were eligible for participation [age ⩾50 years, body mass index 25-35 kg/m2, C-reactive protein (CRP) ⩽6 mg/L]. Following randomization to OEC or placebo, intervention started pre-operatively and continued onwards until day 42. Main outcomes included post-operative CRP levels (days 1-7), self-reported hip pain at rest (by 0-10 cm visual analogue scale on post-operative days 1-42), post-operative analgesic use [by cumulative analgesic consumption score (CACS) days 7-42], tolerability and adverse events.
RESULTS: Patients (N = 34) were recruited from a tertiary orthopaedic hospital in the Czech Republic, of whom 33 completed the study (OEC/placebo: n = 15/18). Baseline characteristics across the groups were comparable. Compared with placebo, the OEC group had numerically lower CRP levels on post-operative days 1-7, including peak level [mean (standard deviation) OEC versus placebo: 81.4 (28.3) versus 106.7 (63.3) mg/L], which translated into a significant 32% lower CRP area under the curve (p = 0.034). The OEC group reported significantly less pain during post-operative days 1-7 versus placebo (analysis of variance treatment × visit [F(4) = 3.989]; p = 0.005). Analgesic use was numerically reduced as assessed through an accumulated CACS. No deleterious effects on haemorheological parameters were observed in either group.
CONCLUSIONS: Pre- and post-operative use of OEC significantly reduced CRP levels and patient self-reported pain. OEC may be an efficacious and safe treatment option to facilitate post-operative recovery following THR.
TRIAL REGISTRATION: EudraCT number 2016-003078-41.