Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine

Shoulder News

Nitroglycerine Helps Heal Shoulder Tendons

Nitroglycerin (GTN) is used to prevent chest pain from heart disease. It works by relaxing the smooth muscle inside blood vessels. In this study GTN patches were used on patients with shoulder tendon degeneration. They got better results than patients who just did a program of tendon rehab.

Researchers tested the patches in patients with chronic shoulder problems. In one group GTN patches were put over the skin of the painful shoulder. They compared the results to shoulder pain patients who got a placebo patch. The placebo patch didn't have any medication in it but the patients didn't know that. Patches in both groups were put on the painful shoulder once each day.

Everyone was given a program of daily exercises for shoulder pain from shoulder tendinopathy, tendon damage from wear and tear (degeneration).

Twice as many patients in the GTN group had pain relief and improved motion compared to the placebo group. The way GTN works is unknown. It may be that the nitric oxide (NO) in the patches causes collagen fibers to grow. The result is tissue remodeling and repair.

The authors concluded that the topical use of NO added to a tendon rehab program can help with chronic shoulder tendinopathy.


Justin A. Paolini, MBBS, PhD, et al. Topical Glyceryl Trinitrate Application in the Treatment of Chronic Supraspinatus Tendinopathy. In The American Journal of Sports Medicine. June 2005. Vol. 33. No. 6. Pp. 806-813.

08/30/2005

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