Synvisc (Hylan GF20)

Synvisc (Hylan GF20)


Synvisc (Hylan GF20) is a form of viscosupplementation treatment designed for relief from knee pain associated with osteoarthritis. The drug was approved for use by the FDA in August, 1997.

It is a gel-like mixture made up of hylan A fluid, hylan B gel and salt water. Both hylan A and hylan B are made from a substance called hyaluronan, also known as sodium hyaluronate that comes from chicken combs.

This form of treatment works by replacing the damaged synovial fluid with a substance similar to that found in healthy joints of 18 to 27 year olds.

Usage and Application

Synvisc (Hylan GF20) is generally advised for patients who:

Are not experiencing satisfactory pain relief from the present treatment Cannot take aspirin or other anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen Are already taking multiple oral medications Are not appropriate candidates for knee surgery Have not responded well to bracing and use of canes or crutches Have shown inadequate response to measures such as weight loss and physical therapy

Recently, it also received European approval to expand its usage to treat the pain associated to osteoarthritis of ankle and the shoulder, in addition to its established use in knee and hip OA.

Research Findings

A series of research reports indicate towards favourable results associated with the use of Synvisc (Hylan GF20) for treating pain of knee osteoarthritis.

One of the most prominent findings was presented at the 64th Annual meeting of the American College of Rheumatology (ACR). The report stated that adding Synvisc (Hylan GF20) to a standard regimen for knee patients with osteoarthritis significantly decreases pain and improves function and quality of life, as compared to standard treatment alone.

Besides, the usage of Synvisc (Hylan GF20) has also been found to be successful in delaying total knee replacement surgery in a large number of patients.

In addition to the therapeutic effect, the use of Synvisc (Hylan GF20) also reflected a clinically significant decrease in the gastrointestinal side effects in patients with osteoarthritis of the knee.

Working Principle

When a patient suffers from osteoarthritis, the synovial fluid becomes thinner than normal, making it less effective as a lubricant and a shock absorber. It is this effect which the Synvisc (Hylan GF20) is designed to simulate, providing the affected area with due lubrication and making it more shock absorbent.

Hylan G-F 20 is basically an elastic fluid made from a substance called hyaluronan, which is originally found in the normal joint fluid. It is the key constituent in the joint fluid that provides the joints with the shock-absorbing ability and hence is important for the proper functioning of the joints.

When the Synvisc (Hylan GF20) is injected into the affected knee, the hylan G-F 20 helps to restore the shock-absorbing effect of the fluid within the knee. This in turn leads to reduced pain and a more active lifestyle.

The Synvisc is injected directly into the knee joint over the course of three doctor visits, at an interval of one week each. Most of the patients begin to experience maximum relief from 8 to 12 weeks after the commencement of treatment. However, some of the patients might even require more than one course of the entire treatment.

For best results, it is always advisable to take all the three injections.

Important Information

The Synvisc (Hylan GF20) preparation is generally well tolerated by all categories of patients. However, it is important that the patients be informed of certain side-effects and precautions associated with the use of Synvisc (Hylan GF20).

Foremost, pain, swelling or fluid build-up might be observed around the knee. Secondly, appearance of rash has also been observed, though in rare cases.

It is also important that the doctor be informed if the patient is allergic to products from birds, such as feathers, eggs or poultry. In addition, Synvisc (Hylan GF20) should be used with extra precaution in children, pregnant women and lactating mothers.

It is also advisable to avoid strenuous activity or prolonged weight-bearing activity such as jogging, tennis or lifting weights for 48 hours following the injection.

Lastly, experts also point out that it may take several injections for the medicine to work fully. It is important that the patient completes the full treatment course, even if relief is already being felt.