Supartz Injections for Knee Arthritis
Knee arthritis is a painful and debilitating condition experienced by millions of people. Supartz™ is an FDA approved joint fluid therapy (viscosupplement) that may offer temporary relief to some patients.
Knee osteoarthritis a chronic progressive condition that results in a degeneration of the cartilage and fluid which lubricate and cushion the bones of the knee. Over time the bones will begin to rub together resulting in bone on bone wear. The results is increased pain and less mobility. There is no cure for knee arthritis and it does worsen over time. Physicians commonly prescribe non-steroidal inflammatory medication (NSAID’s) or Cox-2 inhibitors such as Celebrex™ for pain relief.
The drug Supartz contains sodium hyaluronate which is similar to the body’s natural synovial fluid found in the knee. The value of Supartz injections is to temporarily replace the degraded synovial fluid in the knee and act as a cushion within the knee joint, thus relieving arthritis pain and increasing mobility.
Supartz is a prescription drug and must be ordered and administered by a physician (usually an orthopedic surgeon or specialist). It is indicated for patients who have found no relief from standard pain medicine, exercise, or physical therapy. The injections are administered by a physician over a 5 week period with one shot given each week.
The injections do not always provide instant relief and it may take up to six weeks before an appreciable difference in pain and mobility is noted. Some patients may experience relief after only 3 injections, others after 5, and a small number may not experience any relief. Those who do receive positive effects can generally expect the benefits to last an average six to twelve months. As needed, and assuming the patient responds well to the first injections, the therapy may be repeated in 6-9 months.
Supartz therapy is not indicated for patients who:
- Are allergic to products from birds or fowl, such as feathers or eggs
- Have skin diseases or infections in the knee
- Have had a previous reaction to a hyaluronate product
- Are pregnant or lactating
- In children
the injection process
In order to work properly, Supartz™ injections must be given directly into the knee joint. While each physician will have their own protocol for giving injections, the following is generally what one may expect.
- You will be asked to either sit on the edge of the examining table with legs dangling or to lie down
- The area of the injection will be cleaned with an anti-bacterial agent such as Betadine.
- A small injection of a local anesthetic (such as Lidocaine™) will be given at the injection site.
- The Supartz will then be injected into the knee joint.
- The Betadine will be cleaned off and the patient will be given a band-aid.
The process will take generally take less than 15 minutes from start to finish. Following the injection the patient may go about their normal activities, however they are usually cautioned against participating in sports or heavy lifting for the first 48 hours afterward. Any mild discomfort felt after the injection can be controlled with ice. After the 5 week therapy is completed patients are usually asked to schedule an appointment with their physician in six weeks for re-evaluation.
Supartz has been in use for over 20 years and it has been estimated that well over 100 million injections have been administered. FDA approval for use in the United States was granted in 2001 for treatment of knee arthritis. It is manufactured by Seikagaku Corporation of Japan and marketed in the United States by Smith & Nephew.
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