Background: The efficacy and tolerability of 500-730 kDa sodium hyaluronate (Hyalgan®) for treatment of osteoarthritis (OA) pain has been established in clinical trials, but few data are available in the Asian population. We conducted a randomized, double-blind, multicenter, placebo-controlled study to evaluate the efficacy and tolerability of this preparation in a Taiwanese population.
Methods: Two hundred patients with mild to moderate OA of the knee were randomized to receive five weekly intra-articular injections of sodium hyaluronate or placebo. The primary efficacy outcome was the change from baseline to Week 25 in patients' evaluation of pain using a 100-mm visual analog scale (VAS) during the 50-foot walking test. Additional outcomes included Western Ontario and McMaster Universities (WOMAC) scores, time on the 50-foot walking test, patient's and investigator's subjective assessment of effectiveness, acetaminophen consumption, and the amounts of synovial fluid.
Results: The Hyalgan® treatment group showed a significantly greater improvement from baseline to Week 25 in VAS pain on the 50-foot walking test than the placebo group (p = 0.0020). The Hyalgan® group revealed significant improvements from baseline to week 25 in WOMAC pain and function score than the placebo group (p = 0.005 and 0.0038, respectively) Other outcomes, such as time on the 50-foot walking test and subjective assessment of effectiveness, did not show any significant difference between groups. Both groups were safe and well tolerated.
Conclusions: The present study suggests that five weekly intra-articular injections of sodium hyaluronate are well tolerated, can provide sustained relief of pain, and can improve function in Asian patients with osteoarthritis of the knee.
Trial registration: Therapeutic study, Level I-1a (randomized controlled trial with a significant difference).
Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT01319461.