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Synvisc is a viscosupplement designed for the treatment of knee osteoarthritis. Viscosupplementation is a type of treatment in which synovial fluid in the affected joint is replenished or supplemented with a similar substance. This medication comes in 2 variations, Synvisc, which is a multi-dose treatment, and Synvisc One, which is meant as a single-dose treatment. Synvisc is made of hylan, a derivative of the hyaluronic acid found in vast quantities in the synovial fluid present surrounding the knee joint. A product of Sanofi, a global biotech and pharmaceutical company, Synvisc alleviates knee joint pain in patients with osteoarthritis where conventional treatment is no longer sufficient.
Synvisc is indicated in patients of all severity levels of osteoarthritis who have not responded well to conventional treatment measures, such as physical therapy and analgesics. Ideally, candidates should not have a history of hypersensitivity to hylan. Exercise caution when using Synvisc treatment on patients with allergy to avian proteins, feathers, or egg products. This treatment is not recommended for pregnant or breastfeeding patients, or those under the age of 21.
Both Synvisc and Synvisc One are intended for treatment of the knee in order to manage pain that arises from knee osteoarthritis. The product is injected into the synovial space in the knee joint.
Synvisc aids in managing the pain associated with knee osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis is a painful, chronic condition whereby the fluid in synovial joints is gradually degraded, leading to inflammation and pain. Joints that are commonly affected include the knees, hips, hands, and spine.
The synovial fluid surrounding joints such as the knees, fingers, shoulders, and hips, aid in the reduction of friction between the cartilage present on bone ends. This cushioning effect is lost in the case of osteoarthritis, where synovial fluid deteriorates and is reduced in quantity. Synvisc is a gel that is similar to synovial fluid both physiologically and rheologically, thus treating osteoarthritis pain by restoring shock-absorbing properties to the affected knee joint.
Synvisc is uniquely formulated—it is made of up a blend of hylan, which serve to better emulate healthy synovial fluid in terms of viscosity and elasticity. Hylan is a form of hyaluronan, a compound found naturally in vast quantities in synovial fluid and is what gives synovial fluid its characteristic “egg-white” texture.
Synvisc and Synvisc One differ in the treatment regimen. The recommended regimen for Synvisc treatment is 3 injections in the knee, a week apart, whereas Synvisc One is a single-dose treatment.
Only a licensed, authorized medical professional may administer this treatment. The procedure consists of an intra-articular injection directly in the knee. To perform the procedure, first prepare the site of injection by disinfecting the area with an appropriate antiseptic agent. Then, remove any joint effusion of synovial fluid using an 18–20G needle. After that, remove the cap off the tip of the pre-filled syringe, this can be done by twisting the tip and then pulling it off. Finally, inject the full dose of Synvisc or Synvisc One into the knee. For patient’s comfort, apply a numbing agent prior to administration a Synvisc dose. For complete use instructions, refer to the product manual.
Synvisc and Synvisc One can provide pain relief that lasts up to 6 months. In a clinical study, most patients reported feeling pain relief as early as week 4, and 71% of patients reported pain relief compared with baseline. Repeat treatments of Synvisc may be administered safely, should it be required.
Hylan is broken down by the same pathway as hyaluronic acid in the human body, with non-toxic byproducts. Thus, Synvisc is safe for use. Synvisc and Synvisc One are FDA approved products.
Several side effects to this treatment have been reported previously. This includes joint stiffness, swelling or effusion in the joint, and pain at the site of injection. With a Synvisc treatment, some cases of rashes have been reported as well, but these only occur in rare instances.
Patients will enjoy minimal recovery time following a Synvisc knee injection, but should avoid strenuous activities or prolonged weight-bearing activities for 2 days after the treatment.
Synvisc costs in the range of $740-$754, with an average of $750. Some health plans may cover the cost of Synvisc injections for your patient.