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Osteoarthritis Health Center

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Steroids and Hyaluronic Acid for Osteoarthritis

Shots can help relieve pain from knee osteoarthritis. Two kinds of injections are used: hyaluronic acid and corticosteroids. What can you expect from each type?

Hyaluronic Acid

Brand Name
How It's Given
Euflexxa 3 injections, each 1 week apart
Hyalgan 3 to 5 injections, each 1 week apart
Orthovisc 3 or 4 injections, each 1 week apart
Supartz 3 to 5 injections, each 1 week apart
Synvisc 3 injections, each 1 week apart
Synvisc-One 1 injection

Side effects include pain, swelling, skin irritation, and tenderness. These reactions generally are mild and do not last long.

You should not take this product if you have had an allergic reaction to hyaluronan products in the past.

Corticosteroid Injections

How It's Given
Methylprednisolone acetate 1 injection (can be repeated every 3 months, but should be limited as much as possible; no more than 4 times a year)
Triamcinolone 1 injection (can be repeated every 3 months, but should be limited as much as possible)

*Relief from higher doses may last 16 to 24 weeks.

Side effects include short-term pain flare-up, flushing of the face, thinning of skin or fat near the injection site, and risk of serious allergic reaction.

Other corticosteroids may be available.

For Both Types of Injections

You should not have an injection into the knee if you have a knee joint infection or skin diseases or infections around the injection site.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by David Zelman, MD on April 21, 2015

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