What are hyaluronan injections?

Hyaluronan injections are an approved treatment for osteoarthritis. Hyaluronan is a key compound in cartilage. It binds proteoglycan molecules, and as a result, forms aggregates of very large molecules that give lubricating qualities to cartilage and joint fluid.

Studies show that in people over 60 years of age with osteoarthritis of the knee, an injection of hyaluronan or cross-linked hyaluronan (Hylan G-F 20; Synvisc) proteoglycan solutions into the knee joint has provided rapid and significant pain relief and improvement of function.

In one randomized trial, patients initially received three injections in one-week intervals. When compared with NSAIDs, the hyaluronan-injected patients did at least as well as patients taking NSAIDs after 12 weeks and significantly better after 26 weeks. In all trials the injections were well tolerated, with occasional swelling or redness at the injection site.

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Donna Hill Howes, RN
Family Practitioner

Hyaluronan, also called hyaluronic acid, is a protein found in the lubricating fluid that surrounds the joints. Hyaluronan injections (Euflexxa, Gel-One, Hyalgan, Monovisc, Orthovisc, Supartz, Synvisc) are approved by the FDA for treating knee osteoarthritis when less invasive treatments do not relieve symptoms. It is injected into the affected joint, usually as a series of treatments over several weeks.

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