is orthovisc a steroid
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Last Updated On: June 7, 2024

Is Orthovisc a Steroid? Composition and Mechanism of Action

Published on: Jun 7, 2024

Recent statistics have revealed that 32 million people in the United States alone suffer from osteoarthritis (OA). On a global level, there are over 500 million individuals afflicted with this degenerative disease. As knee and joint pain affect millions, two effective treatments have emerged: steroids and Ortovisc.

While many seek relief, the unique functions and compositions of Orthovisc remain unclear, confusing it with a steroid. Joint pain significantly impacts the quality of life. Fortunately, treatments like steroids and Ortovisc offer effective solutions, providing instant comfort and relief in their respective ways.

This article will explore Ortovisc’s unique functions in treating joint pain caused by osteoarthritis while also highlighting what makes it different from steroids.

Key Takeaways

  • Orthovisc is not a steroid; it is an intra-articular injection used to manage joint pain and improve mobility in patients with osteoarthritis.
  • Orthovisc’s composition includes hyaluronic acid, a naturally occurring substance in synovial fluid that helps lubricate and cushion the joints.
  • Understanding Orthovisc’s mechanism of action empowers healthcare professionals to make informed decisions about its use in clinical practice.

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Is Orthovisc a Steroid?

knee pain

According to Orthovisc’s prescribing information, it is not a steroid; it’s made from a natural substance that helps joints move smoothly. It is mainly composed of high-molecular-weight hyaluronan, a sugar naturally produced by our bodies. Hyaluronan lubricates and cushions joints, easing pain from osteoarthritis. 

Orthovisc injections provide a fresh dose of this natural substance to the knee, acting as both a lubricant and a shock absorber in the joint. Unlike steroid injections, Orthovisc doesn’t offer immediate relief from inflammation; instead, it improves joint function over time. This clean and safe solution, administered via a one-time-use syringe, aims to reduce knee pain when conventional painkillers are ineffective.

Composition of Orthovisc

aching joints

Hyaluronic acid stands at the core of Orthovisc’s formula. This natural substance acts as a powerful lubricant and shock absorber within joints, making it crucial for those suffering from knee pain due to osteoarthritis.

Its high molecular weight allows it to provide effective relief by ensuring smoother knee movements, reducing pain significantly. The presence of sodium hyaluronate in Orthovisc enhances its ability to mimic the body’s synovial fluid, which is essential for protecting and maintaining healthy joint function.

Through intra-articular injections directly into the knee, patients experience improved mobility and decreased discomfort, contributing to a better quality of life without the need for steroid-based treatments.

Mechanism of Action

knee checkup

Orthovisc is a viscosupplement used to treat knee pain associated with osteoarthritis. Its mechanism of action involves injecting highly purified, naturally derived hyaluronic acid (HA) into the knee joint. HA helps restore the cushioning and lubricating properties of the synovial fluid.

  • Lubricating Joints: By adding this lubrication, Orthovisc reduces friction within the joint, easing movement and discomfort. This treatment allows patients to bend, walk, and climb stairs more easily, reducing joint wear and pain. For many people managing knee pain from osteoarthritis, Orthovisc injections are an essential part of staying active and managing their condition effectively.
  • Cushioning Effects: Orthovisc plays a big role in soothing joint pain. This solution mimics the natural fluid around the joints, making movements smoother and less painful. It acts as a buffer against stress during activities, providing a cushion that helps protect joints from the stresses of daily activities.

Impact on Osteoarthritis

Orthovisc knee injections target osteoarthritis pain directly, acting as a lubricant and shock absorber within the knee joint. By mimicking the body’s natural joint fluid with its main ingredient, hyaluronic acid, Orthovisc helps knees move more smoothly, easing pain for those who haven’t found relief from basic painkillers. 

This treatment focuses on improving mobility and cushioning the joint during movement, offering patients a way to manage knee osteoarthritis without surgery or heavy drugs. Since Orthovisc is injected directly into the knee, it starts working in the area that needs it most, with minimal side effects like mild swelling or discomfort at the injection site, making it a safer long-term option.

Clinical Applications and Considerations

Orthovisc offers a promising solution for managing joint pain, particularly for knee osteoarthritis patients. Its main ingredient, hyaluronic acid, acts as a lubricant and shock absorber, helping knees move smoothly and reducing pain. Its main ingredient, hyaluronic acid, relieves patients who don’t respond to basic pain relievers. 

With Orthovisc, improving mobility becomes achievable as it enhances the knee’s ability to move smoothly and comfortably. Each injection aims to reduce discomfort and improve the patient’s quality of life. By directly targeting the affected area, Orthovisc supports smoother movement and significantly reduces pain, making daily tasks easier for those with knee osteoarthritis. 

This treatment has the potential to significantly improve the quality of life for patients facing mobility challenges due to joint issues, offering a viable alternative to more invasive treatments like surgery.

Considerations for Healthcare Professionals

Healthcare professionals often seek the best treatment options for knee pain due to osteoarthritis. Orthovisc stands out because it acts like a lubricant and shock absorber. Here are some important points for medical professionals to consider:

  • Know the Essential Ingredients: Orthovisc contains high molecular weight hyaluronan, effectively treating osteoarthritis knee pain.
  • Understand the Process: The treatment involves injecting Orthovisc directly into the affected knee joint.
  • Assess Patient Eligibility: It’s ideal for patients without relief from standard pain relievers.
  • Prepare for potential side effects: Though risks are mild, watch for pain or swelling at the injection site.
  • Compare with Alternatives: To tailor care plans, consider how Orthovisc dosing differs from other treatments like Synvisc, Euflexxa, or Monovisc.
  • Educate on Outcomes: While immediate relief might not occur, benefits build over time, offering longer-lasting effects.
  • Discuss Treatment Frequency: Patients receive multiple injections based on their needs and responses.


Orthovisc is not a steroid. Instead, it’s made from hyaluronic acid to help knees move smoothly and with less pain. It helps by adding cushion and lubrication to the joint, making movement easier for people with osteoarthritis.

Doctors use Orthovisc to help patients who don’t find relief in simple painkillers. This treatment can make a big difference for those struggling with knee pain, offering them a chance at better mobility and quality of life.


1. Is Orthovisc a type of steroid?

No, Orthovisc is not a steroid. It is a viscosupplement, a thick fluid similar to the natural fluid found in your joints, designed to improve joint function and reduce pain.

2. What is Orthovisc made of, and how does it work?

Orthovisc is composed of hyaluronan derived from rooster combs or produced synthetically in laboratories. When injected into the joint, it acts as a lubricant and shock absorber, helping to reduce friction and pain during movement.

3. How does Orthovisc differ from other hyaluronan-based treatments like Synvisc or Euflexxa?

While all these treatments contain hyaluronan, they are different brands of viscosupplements. Choosing between them is like choosing between different brands of sneakers. Some may last longer or be more effective for individual patients.

4. What are the possible side effects of Orthovisc?

Common side effects of Orthovisc include pain, stiffness, or swelling at the injection site. However, these side effects are usually temporary and resolve on their own.

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Jones R. Prevalence of osteoarthritis, its causes, and prevention. Published May 22, 2023.

Using Orthovisc in Viscosupplementation. Verywell Health.