Frequently Asked Questions
How do I know if I have osteoarthritis in my knee?
You may have knee osteoarthritis if you experience one or more of the following common signs and symptoms:
- Sore knee after overuse or inactivity
- Knee stiffness after resting or in the morning
- Pain when moving your knee
- Pain when climbing stairs or getting up from a chair
- Knee pain that prevents you from exercising your leg
- Grating or catching sensation when moving your knee
- Knee pain that feels worse in the evening after a day’s activity
- Deterioration of coordination due to knee pain and stiffness
- Weakened thigh muscles
To help with your diagnosis and treatment, be sure to mention these signs and symptoms at each doctor’s appointment.
How is osteoarthritis different from other kinds of arthritis?
There are too many types of arthritis to list here (for a complete list, go to www.arthritis.org). Osteoarthritis refers to the breakdown, or degeneration, of the cartilage and fluid that cushion and lubricate the bones in your joints. Osteoarthritis can occur in any joint, but osteoarthritis of the knee is the most common type, affecting more than 10 million Americans.26
Why does osteoarthritis make my knee hurt?
In a healthy knee, the hyaluronic acid in the synovial fluid is continuously broken down and replaced. But when knee osteoarthritis occurs, the hyaluronic acid in the synovial fluid becomes diluted—reducing the fluid’s lubrication and shock-absorbing properties.15,24 Hyaluronic acid depletion is associated with increased inflammation that can degrade knee cartilage and cause pain when you move your knee.15,24 Increasing knee pain, in turn, causes you to further limit your knee movement, creating a painful cycle of knee deterioration and synovial fluid depletion.
- Bones: Sometimes knee bones start to grow bony spurs called osteophytes that restrict knee movement and cause pain.
- Knee capsule: The tissue surrounding the knee can become thick and swollen, and sometimes inflamed.
- Knee cartilage: The gap between your knee bones is normally separated by cartilage tissue. The cartilage tissue functions as a shock absorber for your knee bones. When osteoarthritis becomes worse, the cartilage tissue in your knee is worn away, shrinking the gap between your knee bones. When the gap is smaller, moving your knee without pain becomes more difficult.
- Knee joint fluid: The hyaluronic acid content of the fluid in your knees breaks down and is less able to perform its protective functions.
Are all knee injection therapies for osteoarthritis the same?
No, there are different classes of injectable therapies that may be used to treat osteoarthritis in your knee. For example, steroid injections (such as cortisone) may help relieve knee pain and swelling temporarily. Opioids, such as morphine, are a class of drug with a very strong analgesic (painkilling) effect. On the other hand, hyaluronic acid injections like GELSYN-3 are designed to supplement the lost hyaluronic acid in the synovial fluid in your knee joint, which provides cushioning and lubrication.
Is GELSYN-3 treatment painful?
Most patients report experiencing little pain or discomfort during the injection. Many doctors will apply a topical drug to numb the skin prior to giving the GELSYN-3 injection, which helps to minimize any pain or discomfort.
Does treatment with GELSYN-3 involve any other drugs or surgery?
No additional drug or surgery is involved in treatment with GELSYN-3 (other than a topical drug to numb your knee). You can schedule GELSYN-3 treatments just as you would any other office visit.
How is the treatment performed?
The entire procedure is performed in the doctor’s office and takes approximately 10 to 15 minutes. GELSYN-3 is administered as a series of single injections into the affected knee joint.14 Your doctor may advise you to avoid strenuous physical activities for a few days after each injection.
How does GELSYN-3 work?
GELSYN-3 treats knee osteoarthritis by temporarily restoring hyaluronic acid in the fluid in your knee. The diminished amount of hyaluronic acid in your knee is one of the causes of your knee pain.15 Unlike oral painkillers or nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) that affect all parts of your body, GELSYN-3 specifically targets the osteoarthritis pain in your knee.
Is my condition serious enough for this treatment?
If you have knee osteoarthritis pain and the pain is not controlled by lifestyle changes or simple painkillers, you could be a candidate for GELSYN-3 treatment. To find out if GELSYN-3 might be right for you, please consult your doctor.
Is GELSYN-3 covered by my insurance?
GELSYN-3 is covered by Medicare and many private insurance plans for the treatment of knee osteoarthritis pain. You can find out if your plan covers GELSYN-3 by calling your plan directly before initiating therapy.
What is hyaluronic acid?
Hyaluronic acid is a molecule found naturally throughout the human body. It is an important component of the joint fluid, called synovial fluid. The synovial fluid enables joints to move easily and freely while also absorbing the shock in the joint that occurs during physical activity. In a healthy joint, the joint fluid helps to protect bones and other joint tissues from injury and disease.
Why is hyaluronic acid important in the treatment of osteoarthritis?
The hyaluronic acid in the synovial fluid in your joint is continuously broken down and replaced over time. During the gradual progression of osteoarthritis, hyaluronic acid breaks down faster and becomes diluted. This has a negative effect on the protective properties of the joint synovial fluid, reducing its ability to provide the elasticity and viscosity to your knee cartilage that is needed for normal, pain-free joint movement.
Can hyaluronic acid treatment postpone joint replacement surgery?
A study of patients who had undergone knee replacement surgery published in 2015 found that prior treatment with hyaluronic acid injections postponed their need for knee replacement surgery.12 In this claims study, the more courses of hyaluronic acid treatment the patients had received, the longer the time was between their initial diagnosis of osteoarthritis and their knee replacement operation. Patients without hyaluronic acid treatment had their knee replacement surgery after an average of 9 months. Patients who received 5 or more courses of hyaluronic acid treatment delayed their knee replacement operation by an average of 3.6 years.12
How is GELSYN-3 different than a steroid injection?
A steroid injection is used to reduce inflammation and pain. A steroid injection usually starts to work quicker than an injection of hyaluronic acid, but it doesn’t last as long.11 In clinical studies comparing steroid injections with hyaluronic acid injections11for patients with knee osteoarthritis, both treatments provided a reduction in knee pain and stiffness, but the benefits of the hyaluronic acid injection lasted several months longer and could be repeated without showing a decline in effect. The study also showed that patients who initially received a steroid injection also responded well to follow-up treatment at six months with an injection of hyaluronic acid. Hyaluronic acid has been clinically proven to protect knee mobility and delay the need for knee replacement surgery.12
How long does GELSYN-3 last?
Relief from knee pain and restoration of knee function can last up to 6 months after a course of therapy with GELSYN-3.14,26,27
Are repeat treatments with GELSYN-3 safe?
Yes. GELSYN-3 is clinically proven to be safe, even following repeated injections. More information about clinical studies of GELSYN-3 safety can be found in the Summary of Indications for Use in the package insert.
Can I receive GELSYN-3 treatment in both my knees?
Yes. However, you will need one series of injections in each knee.
Is there a reason why I could not get a GELSYN-3 treatment?
You should not use GELSYN-3 if you have infections or skin disease at the injection site. GELSYN-3 has not been tested in pregnant or lactating women, or children.14 Full information about the indications and contraindications for GELSYN-3 can be found in the package insert, or by contacting Customer Service at 1-800-836-4080.