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Last Updated On: June 7, 2024

Orthovisc Side Effects: Managing Adverse Reactions

Published on: Jun 7, 2024

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), over 32.5 million adults in the United States experience osteoarthritis, a condition causing joint pain and stiffness. While treatments like Orthovisc offer relief, understanding potential side effects is essential.

Orthovisc, a hyaluronic acid injection, is a typical therapy for osteoarthritis. It acts as a lubricant within the joint to reduce pain and improve mobility. However, like any medical intervention, Orthovisc may cause adverse reactions.

In this article, we’ll explore the potential side effects of this treatment and typical reactions, such as injection site discomfort and even rarer occurrences.

Key Takeaways

  • Orthovisc is a viscosupplement used to alleviate joint pain and improve function in patients with osteoarthritis.
  • It is not a steroid and works by providing lubrication and cushioning to the affected joint.
  • Common side effects of Orthovisc include injection site pain, swelling, and warmth, while severe but rare adverse reactions may include infection or allergic reactions.
  • Patient education, counseling, and close monitoring are essential in managing Orthovisc side effects and ensuring optimal patient outcomes.

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Orthovisc Side Effects

Orthovisc knee injections are a standard treatment for joint pain, but they can lead to side effects. While some reactions, like pain, swelling, and redness at the injection site, are common and usually mild, others, like itching, bruising, or joint pain, are less frequent. In rare cases, patients might experience back pain, headaches, or numbness. Doctors should monitor patients closely to address adverse reactions promptly.


Rare but Severe Adverse Reactions

Orthovisc, a non-steroid treatment for knee pain from osteoarthritis, generally has mild side effects. Yet, some patients face severe but rare adverse reactions. Here’s a detailed list of those reactions:

  • Severe joint pain that feels worse than before the Orthovisc injection may occur. This discomfort might last longer than expected.
  • Significant swelling in or around the knee can happen, making it difficult to move the joint as usual.
  • Allergic reactions are rare but can be severeā€”signs include skin rash, intense itching, hives, and facial swelling.
  • Some people experience dizziness, adding to concerns about their overall stability and safety post-injection.
  • Back pain that’s new or worsens following treatment with Orthovisc is another concern. It could interfere with daily activities and rest.
  • In extreme cases, there might be difficulty breathingā€”a sign of a severe allergic reaction that needs immediate medical attention.
  • Tingling or numbness in hands or feet indicates a neurological side effect that may arise after an Orthovisc injection.
  • Facial flushing post-treatment could cause discomfort or embarrassment for some patients.

Managing Orthovisc Side Effects

Educating patients about Orthovisc’s side effects is crucial for successful treatment. Doctors must explain common reactions like pain and swelling and promptly instruct patients to report severe symptoms. Counseling should also cover treatment alternatives like Synvisc or Euflexxa to help patients make informed decisions about their care.

Monitoring and Follow-up Care

Monitoring and follow-up care are critical steps in managing Orthovisc side effects. It ensures patients get the most benefit from their treatment while staying safe.

  • Schedule Regular Check-Ups: After an Orthovisc injection, set up future appointments. This lets doctors check on how well the treatment works and if there are side effects.
  • Watch for Reactions: Watch for common issues like pain, swelling, or redness at the injection site. Also, note rare but severe reactions such as difficulty breathing or facial swelling.
  • Report All Side Effects: If a patient experiences any discomfort, even mild ones like slight swelling or redness, they should tell their doctor immediately. It’s crucial for managing potential problems early.
  • Educate Patients on What to Expect: Ensure patients know about possible side effects from Orthovisc injections. This includes everything from minor pain to signs of an allergic reaction, like hives or difficulty breathing.
  • Advise on Home Care: Suggest ways patients can ease discomfort at home, such as resting the treated area or using ice packs to reduce swelling.
  • Modify Treatment If Needed: If a patient has a severe reaction, consider changing their treatment plan. This might mean adjusting the Orthovisc dosage or trying a different approach altogether.
  • Keep Detailed Records: Document each patientā€™s reactions to Orthovisc injections over time. This information is vital for understanding how well the treatment works and guiding future care decisions.
  • Offer Reassurance: Many patients may feel worried about side effects. Support and reassure them that you’re there to help manage any issues.

Indications for Orthovisc Use

Some osteoarthritis patients may be asking, “What is Orthovisc?” Orthovisc is a viscosupplementation therapy used to treat knee pain caused by osteoarthritis. It’s injected directly into the knee joint to improve mobility and reduce discomfort. This treatment mimics the body’s natural joint fluid, helping lubricate and cushion the joint for smoother movement and pain relief.

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Mechanisms of Action

Orthovisc injections offer relief for knee pain caused by osteoarthritis. Made from high molecular weight hyaluronic acid, Orthovisc acts as a lubricant and shock absorber in the knee joint. Administered via injection, it helps patients move more quickly and reduces discomfort, providing long-lasting relief.

Osteoarthritis and Joint Pain

Understanding how Orthovisc works is crucial for addressing osteoarthritis and joint pain. Orthovisc mimics the natural joint fluid, cushioning bones, reducing pain, and improving mobility. Compared to Monovisc, Orthovisc injections offer insights into different approaches to easing discomfort. 

Orthovisc provides relief without steroids, making it a valuable option for patients seeking alternatives to surgery or those unable to tolerate oral pain medications. It’s part of a broader treatment plan that includes physical therapy, weight management, and other drugs, aiming to improve quality of life by easing pain and increasing joint function.

Definition and Composition

Orthovisc is not a steroid but a high molecular weight hyaluronan. It mimics our joints’ naturally occurring synovial fluid, acting as a lubricant and shock absorber to help joints function smoothly. It contains purified sodium hyaluronate from rooster combs, which helps restore cushioning and lubrication in osteoarthritic knees, reducing pain and improving joint function without systemic effects like steroids.


Orthovisc is a valuable treatment option for patients suffering from osteoarthritis and joint pain. While it is generally well-tolerated, healthcare providers must be vigilant in monitoring and managing potential side effects to ensure the safety and well-being of their patients. By understanding the mechanisms and clinical applications of Orthovisc, medical professionals can effectively incorporate this treatment into their practice.


1. What is Orthovisc, and is it a steroid?

Orthovisc is not a steroid. It’s a treatment used by doctors to alleviate knee pain caused by osteoarthritis.

2. Where can I find Orthovisc prescribing information?

You can obtain Orthovisc prescribing information from your doctor or healthcare provider. They have all the details on how to use it safely.

3. Can Orthovisc cause side effects?

Yes, like any treatment, Orthovisc may have some side effects. Most are mild, but discussing them with your doctor is important.

4. How do I handle any adverse reactions from Orthovisc?

If you notice anything unusual after receiving Orthovisc, inform your doctor immediately. They will know how to manage these reactions and ensure your well-being.

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  1. Osteoarthritis | CDC. Published December 3, 2021.

Viscosupplementation – an overview | ScienceDirect Topics.