hyaluronate (hyaluronan, Hyalgan, Supartz, Euflexxa, Orthovisc)

  • Pharmacy Author:
    Omudhome Ogbru, PharmD

    Dr. Ogbru received his Doctorate in Pharmacy from the University of the Pacific School of Pharmacy in 1995. He completed a Pharmacy Practice Residency at the University of Arizona/University Medical Center in 1996. He was a Professor of Pharmacy Practice and a Regional Clerkship Coordinator for the University of the Pacific School of Pharmacy from 1996-99.

  • Medical and Pharmacy Editor: Jay W. Marks, MD
    Jay W. Marks, MD

    Jay W. Marks, MD

    Jay W. Marks, MD, is a board-certified internist and gastroenterologist. He graduated from Yale University School of Medicine and trained in internal medicine and gastroenterology at UCLA/Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.

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GENERIC NAME: sodium hyaluronate (hyaluronan) intra-articular injection

BRAND NAME: Hyalgan, Supartz, Euflexxa, Orthovisc

DRUG CLASS AND MECHANISM: Hyaluronic acid is a natural chemical that is found in almost all species of animal and in various parts of the human body. It works as a biological lubricant, reducing friction between adjacent tissues. It is present in high amounts in joints and synovial fluid (the fluid that fills the knee joint).

Sodium hyaluronate is used for the treatment of pain due to osteoarthritis of the knee in patients who do not get adequate relief from simple pain medicines or from exercise and physical therapy. It is administered by injection directly into the knee joint (intra-articular injection).

The exact mechanism by which sodium hyaluronate products work is not known. The synovial fluid in the knees helps lubricate and cushion our joints during movement. Sodium hyaluronate is the major component in the synovial fluid. People with osteoarthritis do not have enough hyaluronic acid in their synovial fluid. It is thought that sodium hyaluronate injection helps restore synovial fluid, thereby reducing some of the pain and discomfort associated with osteoarthritis.

The first sodium hyaluronate injection was approved in the US in 1997.

PRESCRIBED FOR: Sodium hyaluronate is used for the treatment of pain due to osteoarthritis of the knee in patients who do not get adequate relief from simple pain medicines (for example, acetaminophen [Tylenol and others]) or from exercise and physical therapy.

SIDE EFFECTS WARNING:

  • Sodium hyaluronate should not be used in patients who have previously experienced hypersensitivity (allergies) to hyaluronate preparation. Patients allergic to bird proteins, feathers, egg products should ask their doctor if sodium hyaluronate is right for them.
  • Sodium hyaluronate injection should not be used in patients who have knee infections or skin diseases of the knee.
  • Combining sodium hyaluronate with products containing quaternary ammonium salts (for example, benzalkonium chloride) can cause a precipitate to form.
  • Strict aseptic injection technique should be used.
  • The full contents of a single syringe should be injected into one knee only. A separate syringe should be used for each knee.

SIDE EFFECTS:

Common side effects include:

  • Pain at the injection site
  • Swelling of the knee
  • Rash
  • Itching
  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Upset stomach
  • Diarrhea

Other reported side effects include:

  • Pain
  • Fatigue
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Fever
  • Fall
  • Feeling sick
  • Bruising
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 10/14/2015

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