Supartz vs Synvisc: Which One is Better

About osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis is a degenerative disease that affects the joint, in particular the knee joint. Being the most common form of arthritis, osteoarthritis affects millions of people around the world. Individuals in their mid-to-late forties tend to have a higher risk of developing osteoarthrosis.  Physiologically, osteoarthritis is resulted from the stress on the joint, repetitive movements and wear and tear. The damaged cartilage in the joint will cause inflammation and pain. At the same time, it restricts the range of motion in the joints. Being a progressive condition, the symptoms of osteoarthritis tend to worsen over time. As the condition deteriorates, patients may find it hard to climb stairs, walk, or even stand. Thankfully, there are many treatment options for osteoarthritis knee pain, including pain killers, physical therapy, and lifestyle modification (e.g. weight reduction). Apart from that, viscosupplementation injectables such as Supartz and Synvisc are also used as for the symptomatic treatment of osteoarthritis.

About viscosupplementation

While conservative treatments (e.g. pain killers and physical therapy) are the mainstay of treatment for osteoarthritis knee pain, they may not work on all patients. For patients who have not had success with these treatments, doctors may prescribe viscosupplementations (e.g. Synvisc and Supartz) as second-line treatments.

Viscosupplementation is a treatment that has cushioning effects on the knee joint. It is often formulated as injectables, which contain fluid with a gel consistency. Having shock-absorbing properties, the gel-like fluid allows smooth movements between the bones. As a result, knee pain is significantly reduced and patient mobility is improved. Synvisc and Supartz are some of the viscosupplementation injectables commonly used in the management of osteoarthritis knee pain. As with all viscosupplementation injectables, Synvisc and Supartz are designed as symptomatic treatments. They do not cure the underlying causes of osteoarthritis, nor do they regenerate the knee cartilage.

Prior to using viscosupplementations, it is important to remove any excess fluid from the joint of the knee. Using a needle, the hyaluronic acid gel is injected into the joint space. It typically takes several minutes to complete the procedure. After injecting viscosupplements, patients should avoid physical activities for several days. Both Supartz and Synvisc injections should be administered by qualified and licensed doctors.

Synvisc vs Supartz: how are they similar?

Synvisc and Supartz are brand name viscosupplements manufactured by Sanofi S.A. and Bioventus LLC, respectively. Sanofi S.A. is a global pharmaceutical corporation headquartered in France, while Bioventus LLC is a US-based health care company that specializes in orthobiologic solutions for osteoarthritis.

Both Synvisc and Supartz are formulated with hyaluronic acid (or more specifically, hylan G-F 20 and sodium hyaluronate), a compound that mimics the actions of a natural substance in the joint. Having similar modes of action, they lubricate the joints, helping the bones to move smoothly. This subsequently reduces discomfort and pain.

Synvisc and Supartz also have a similar duration of action, lasting for approximately 6 months. Synvisc seems to have equivalent efficacy to Supartz (neither of the injections is more superior to the other).

Synvisc vs Supartz: how are they different?

Perhaps the biggest difference between the two formulations is number of injections required. Supartz is usually given in 3 to 5 injections consecutively. In contrast, Synvisc is typically given in 3 separate injections. A single-dose formulation of Synvisc (Synvisc One) is also available. Synvisc One decreases the number of visits needed, reducing the treatment cost and eliminating the inconvenience of multiple doctor visits.

What are the side effects of Synvisc and Supartz?

Both Synvisc and Supartz have a similar side effect profile. After injection, patients may experience temporary pain and swelling at the site of injection. However, these symptoms tend to be short lived and self-limiting in nature. Synvisc and Supartz are sourced from rooster combs; therefore, the viscosupplements should not be used in those with a known allergy to avian proteins, feathers, and/or egg products.

The takeaway

The progression of osteoarthritis will lead to the inability to walk or even stand, significantly disrupting the daily functioning of patients. Current treatment modalities such as pharmacotherapies (e.g. pain killers) and physical therapies can be used to manage the condition. Unfortunately, they do not always work. Being the second line treatment of osteoarthritis, viscosupplements such as Supartz and Synvisc effectively reduce knee pain, providing long lasting symptomatic relief. Supartz and Synvisc are equally effective in the symptomatic treatment of osteoarthritis. While there is currently no cure for osteoarthritis, it is possible to relieve its associated symptoms and slow the progression of the disease.