What to Know About Durolane Injections

A Drug Approved to Relieve Symptoms of Arthritis

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Durolane is an injection treatment to relieve the pain in joints caused by osteoarthritis (OA). Durolane is a clear, viscous gel that contains hyaluronic acid. It differs from other hyaluronic acid injections in that only a single injection is needed for six months, as opposed to a three to five injection regimen.

Sodium hyaluronate—found naturally in the body—acts as a lubricant and shock absorber in joints. In joints affected by arthritis, the concentration of sodium hyaluronate may be reduced, thus reducing the cushioning and lubrication in affected joints.

Durolane injections contain highly purified hyaluronic acid that is placed directly in affected joints to increase the lubrication and cushioning, helping relieve pain experienced due to osteoarthritis. These injections provide symptomatic relief of OA and may delay the need for surgery on affected joints. 

Performing intra-articular injection in knee


Lunatic_67 / iStock / Getty Images

Uses

Durolane injections are used most often to manage osteoarthritis in the shoulder, knee, hip, or ankle that has not responded to non-surgical treatment options.

Durolane injections are most often used in individuals living with OA for whom conventional treatments such as pain medications, physical therapy, and corticosteroid injections have not provided relief. It is an excellent option to provide pain relief and help improve your capacity for physical activity.

Durolane benefits for those living with OA include: 

  • Pain relief in the affected joint(s) 
  • May help delay or avoid surgery
  • Easy to administer
  • Drug-free alternative to pain medications
  • Repeatable—individuals may receive more than one shot if needed

Receiving a Durolane injection takes no more than 30 minutes. You will be awake during the procedure and will be given anesthesia on the skin where the injection will be administered to help reduce any discomfort felt during the procedure.

Before Taking

Durolane injections are given to osteoarthritis patients for whom other medications and treatments—including over-the-counter medications such as ibuprofen and acetaminophen—have not provided relief. 

Talk to your doctor about all medications, supplements, and vitamins that you currently take. While some drugs post minor interaction risks, others may contraindicate use or prompt careful consideration as to whether the pros of treatment outweigh the cons in your case.

Precautions and Contraindications

If you are allergic to hyaluronic acid, you should not be given a Durolane injection. You should not receive the medication if you have an active infection in the affected joint or the skin around the joint. 

At present time, Durolane is not approved for use by anyone 21 years old or younger, as the safety and effectiveness have not been tested in the pediatric demographic. Tell your doctor if you have ever had blood clots or circulation problems. 

The safety and efficacy of Durolane have not been established in people who are pregnant or nursing. Talk to your doctor if you are pregnant or nursing before receiving this medication. 

Other Hyurolanic Acid Injections

There are a number of commonly-prescribed medications (hyaluronan derivatives) that are similar to Durolane. These medications are injected into joints to increase the amount of protective fluid on the affected joint(s) to decrease pain, improve mobility, and restore the natural protective functions in the joints. These include: 

Dosage 

Durolane is administered by your doctor in a single syringe containing 3 milliliters (ml) of gel. It is a single dose, and only one should be injected per joint. Durolane should only be injected by an authorized physician and is not intended for at-home use.

Each injection may provide relief from osteoarthritis symptoms for up to six months after a single injection. Pivotal clinical studies show that many patients experience significant relief from osteoarthritis symptoms within only two weeks after injection.

Administration

Before administering the injection, your doctor will clean the affected area. Then, your doctor will inject a local anesthetic to prevent discomfort during the procedure. 

If your joint is swollen with excess fluid due to inflammation, your doctor may first inject a local anesthetic before inserting a needle to withdraw excess fluid and relieve pressure. Your doctor will then inject the hyaluronic acid/Durolane into the affected joint.

Your doctor may use imaging studies to guide the injection needle into the affected area. Durolane will be injected directly into the affected joint. Following the injection, ice will be applied to the area and you will be required to rest in the recovery area to ensure there are no adverse effects.  Most patients can return home on the same day. 

After the injection, your doctor will place a small bandage or dressing over the injection site. You will also place ice on the injection site to reduce pain and swelling.

Your doctor may give you a repeated dose after this period. Durolane is proven safe for repeated treatments.

Avoid strenuous activity for at least 48 hours after your injection. This includes standing for longer than an hour at a time, and weight-bearing activities. Speak with your doctor to determine how long to wait before resuming these activities. 

Side Effects

Along with its desired effects to reduce pain, Durolane injections may cause some unwanted side effects. Some side effects may occur that do not require medical attention, as they are likely to go away after your body has adjusted to the medication.

Speak with your healthcare provider if the common side effects you are experiencing are persistent or bothersome.

Common

Some of the more common side effects of Durolane injection include:

  • Headache
  • Joint pain
  • Mild pain, warmth, and swelling at the injection site 
  • Muscle pain or stiffness

Severe

Severe side effects from Durolane injections are rare. If you experience any of the following side effects, seek medical attention for assistance: 

  • Bleeding
  • Blistering or discoloration of the skin
  • Hives
  • Infection
  • Itching
  • Allergic reaction (redness, rash, hives)

In addition to speaking with your healthcare provider, you may also report any side effects you experience to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) at 1-800-FDA-1088.

Warnings and Interactions 


You should not receive a Durolane injection if you had a previous allergic reaction to hyaluronic acid or if you have a bleeding disorder. 

There are currently no known drug contraindications with Durolane. This means that there are currently no other medications that contraindicate its use in osteoarthritis patients.

Still, it is important that you speak with your doctor about all medications you are using—including over-the-counter, herbal remedies, and vitamins—that you are currently taking before receiving your Durolane injection. 

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