Synvisc is Genzyme Corp.'s brand name for one of its osteoarthritis treatments. The treatment consists of one injection into the knee per week for three weeks. Each 2.25-ml syringe delivers 2ml of Synvisc to the knee. Genzyme advises physicians to try Synvisc only if therapy and painkillers have failed to bring comfort to the patient. If the first set of injections fails to provide enough relief, a doctor can administer a second set of three after four weeks. The maximum recommended dose is six injections within six months.
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Hyaluronan and Hylan Polymers
Your joints are coated by sacs of fluid that cushion and protect them. This synovial fluid contains high amounts of hyaluronan, which lubricates the joints and absorbs shocks. Synvisc is meant to supplement your own synovial fluid's natural hyaluronan with two substances--hylan A fluid and hylan B gel, together called hylan polymers. Genzyme manufactures hylan A and hylan B from the natural hyaluronan found in chicken combs. The hylan polymers give Synvisc the elasticity and viscosity identical to the knee synovial fluid of 18 to 27 year olds.
Each 2.25-ml syringe of Synvisc contains 16 mg of hylan polymers, 17 mg of sodium chloride (table salt), 0.32 mg of disodium hydrogen phosphate, 0.08 mg of sodium dihydrogen phosphate monohydrate and water.
Your doctor uses an 18- to 22-gauge needle to withdraw synovial fluid or effusion (an abnormal build-up of fluid) from your knee. He may attach the same needle or a fresh one to the Synvisc syringe to deliver the 2-mL dose into your knee.
Physicians can use Synvisc to relieve osteoarthritic pain in the hip, shoulder or ankle. In these cases, only one injection is recommended although a second one can follow one to three months later.
Synvisc-One is virtually identical to Synvisc except for the dose. Synvisc-One is three doses of Synvisc in a 10-mL syringe and is meant to be administered as a single injection versus Synvisc's course of three.
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