Hyaluronan injections for osteoarthritis of the knee

Examples

Generic Name Brand Name
hylan G-F 20 Synvisc
hyaluronate Euflexxa, Hyalgan, Orthovisc, Supartz

How It Works

Hyaluronan is a substance that doctors inject directly into your knee joint, where it may help supplement the knee joint's natural synovial fluid, relieving pain and improving your ability to use the knee. This treatment is also called viscosupplementation.

After an injection, some people may experience pain or swelling.

Why It Is Used

Doctors use hyaluronan (hyaluronic acid) to treat osteoarthritis of the knee that has not improved with other treatment (such as acetaminophen and physical therapy).

How Well It Works

Results of some studies have shown that hyaluronan injections have improved the symptoms of osteoarthritis and joint function in some people.1 Results in other studies have been inconclusive about the effectiveness of hyaluronan injections.2

Side Effects

Hyaluronan injections may cause pain or swelling. Tell your doctor if you are allergic to birds, feathers, or egg products.

The long-term effects of repeated hyaluronan injections into the knee joint are not known.

See Drug Reference for a full list of side effects. (Drug Reference is not available in all systems.)

What To Think About

Hyaluronan injections may provide relief for people with knee pain.

Complete the new medication information form (PDF)(What is a PDF document?) to help you understand this medication.

References

Citations

  1. Wang CT, et al. (2004). Therapeutic effects of hyaluronic acid on osteoarthritis of the knee: A meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, 86-A(3): 538–545.
  2. Lo GH, et al. (2003). Intra-articular hyaluronic acid in treatment of knee osteoarthritis. JAMA, 290(23): 3115–3121.

Last Updated: April 17, 2009

Author: Shannon Erstad, MBA/MPH

Medical Review: Anne C. Poinier, MD - Internal Medicine & Richa Dhawan, MD - Rheumatology

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