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Steroids and Hyaluronic Acid for Osteoarthritis

Reviewed by David Zelman, MD on April 22, 2019

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
Euflexxa3 injections, each 1 week apart
Hyalgan3 to 5 injections, each 1 week apart
Orthovisc3 or 4 injections, each 1 week apart
Supartz3 to 5 injections, each 1 week apart
Synvisc3 injections, each 1 week apart
Synvisc-One1 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

Name
How It's Given
Methylprednisolone acetate1 injection (can be repeated every 3 months, but should be limited as much as possible; no more than 4 times a year)
Triamcinolone1 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

Sources

SOURCES:

FDA: "Euflexxa."

National Library of Medicine DailyMed: "Depo Medrol."

Cigna: "Triamcinolone."

Ferring Pharmaceuticals: “Euflexxa Full Prescribing Information.”

Sanofi Aventis: “Hyalgan Full Prescribing Information.”

DePuy: “Orthovisc.”

Smith & Nephew: “Supartz Full Prescribing Information.”

Genzyme Corporation: “Synvisc Full Prescribing Information.”

Genzyme Corporation: “Synvisc-One Full Prescribing Information.”

Pfizer. “Depo Medrol Full Prescribing Information.”

Pfizer: “Depo Medrol Product Information.”

Aristospan Full Prescribing Information.

Gaffney, K. Annals of Rheumatic Diseases, 1995.

Arroll, B. BMJ, 2004.

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