Hyaluronic acid treatment for knee osteoarthritis pain Original paper

In this systematic review, hyaluronic acid injection was a cost-effective option for relief of pain from knee osteoarthritis, and its use in earlier stages of knee osteoarthritis delayed the need for total knee arthroplasty surgery.

This Study Summary was published on February 2, 2024.

Quick Summary

In this systematic review, hyaluronic acid injection was a cost-effective option for relief of pain from knee osteoarthritis, and its use in earlier stages of knee osteoarthritis delayed the need for total knee arthroplasty surgery.

What was studied?

The effects of various types of intra-articular (injected into the knee joint) hyaluronic acid (HA) products available in the United States on knee osteoarthritis (OA).

The outcomes assessed included pain relief efficacy, cost effectiveness, and time until the need for total knee arthroplasty (TKA) surgery.*

Who was studied?

A total of 5,782,156 participants in the United States (U.S.) who had knee osteoarthritis.

How was it studied?

This systematic review of 27 studies included 21 U.S.-based health and economic evaluations of HA and 6 trials that assessed multiple HA products available in the U.S. The health and economic evaluations incorporated a mix of retrospective analyses of administrative claims databases and cost-effectiveness simulation models. They compared HA costs to the costs of usual care and evaluated utilization of other healthcare resources, such as other medications and surgery.

What were the results?

The authors of the review reported the following:

  • HA was effective at providing pain relief for participants with knee OA for 3 to 5 months postinjection.
  • Participants who received HA treatment in the U.S. benefitted from lower costs of treatment than participants who received alternative treatments, including opioids, NSAIDs, and corticosteroids.
  • Participants who received HA treatment also delayed the time to TKA, from 8 months up to 3.6 years.
  • High-molecular-weight HA products were superior to low-molecular-weight HA products in terms of efficacy for pain relief.

Anything else I need to know?

This review was funded by a pharmaceutical company (Ferring Pharmaceuticals) that produces a hyaluronic acid product. Several of the authors were employed at this company at the time of this study.

*Total knee arthroplasty is a major surgical procedure needed for late-stage knee OA, and it incurs high costs for both patients and hospitals.

This Study Summary was published on February 2, 2024.