Meeting hears of synovial fluid replacement therapy

By: IRISH PHARMACIST – IRISH PHARMACIST – Friday, August 05, 2005

A meeting took place in Dublin recently to discuss the treatment of osteoarthritis (OA), a condition that up to 400,000 people in Ireland suffer from annually.

The meeting, which was hosted by Premier Medical and chaired by Dr Douglas Veale, consultant rheumatologist, St Vincent’s Hospital, Dublin, heard about recent changes in the treatment of OA and sport injuries of the knee.

Guest speaker, Dr Robert J Petrella, medical director at the Canadian Centre for Activity and Aging, gave insights into the use of synovial fluid replacement therapy using hyaluronan, and also showed the results of research on the treatment and its different applications and benefits.

The therapy involves a series of injections into the knee joint, resulting in pain relief which can last up to six months. It also prevents further loss of cartilage in some cases. The patient’s reliance on pain-relieving medications may also be reduced. It also improves function in patients with OA of the knee, thus increasing their mobility and allowing them to exercise. The therapy, known also as viscosupplementation using hyaluronan, came into clinical use in Japan and Italy in 1987, in Canada in 1992 and in Europe in 1995. It has been approved in the US since 1997.

An interview with Dr Petrella will appear in next month’s issue of Irish Pharmacist.

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