Orthovisc is an intra-articular injection medication that is made of hyaluronan. It is a sterile viscoelastic preparation that is supplied in a glass syringe containing 2mL of sodium hyaluronate in a physiological saline. Hyaluronan is a substance that is present in many parts of the body and provides hydration and lubrication. It is very similar in composition and effect to the synovial fluid that surrounds the joints in the body. Synovial fluid allows for easy, pain-free movement of the joints, and when there is not enough of this lubricating fluid present, the joint produce friction, leading to inflammation and pain. This pain and inflammation can lead to stiffness and loss of mobility for patients, affecting their quality of life.
What is Orthovisc injection used for?
Orthovisc injection is used to treat knee pain and inflammation associated with osteoarthritis, a condition that arises when the cartilage in the joint is worn away, which often occurs when there is not enough synovial fluid present in the joint. There are many causes of osteoarthritis, including age, genetics, repeated hard physical activity, surgery, or injury to the knee. Orthovisc injection is typically used for patients who have had no success with other, more traditional treatments such as physical therapy and exercise, or acetaminophens and other pain medication. Orthovisc injections are able to lubricate the joint and better absorb shock within the joint, increasing the quality of life of patients by providing them with pain relief and increased mobility.
Side effects of Orthovisc injection
Orthovisc injections are very safe and can be very effective for many patients. However, there is a risk of allergic reaction to Orthovisc injections, which could manifest as hives, difficulty breathing, or swelling in the face, lips, tongue, or throat. The patient will need immediate medical attention if they display the signs of an allergic reaction, and if they have other adverse reactions such as bleeding, increased pain in the knee, or signs of an infection in the knee. While these serious side effects are rare, there are some more common reactions patients may experience, including:
- Joint pain, swelling, or stiffness;
- Numbness, tingling, or itching;
- Headaches or dizziness;
- Back pain;
- Redness, pain, swelling, or discomfort at injection site.
Orthovisc injection is administered through intra-articular injection once a week over a period of three weeks, totalling three injections. Each mL of Orthovisc injection contains 15mg of sodium hyaluronate, and the exact amount of Orthovisc required will vary by patient, though it should never exceed 2mL per knee.