Clinical UM Guideline
|Subject:||Hyaluronan Injections in the Knee|
|Guideline #:||CG-DRUG-29||Current Effective Date:||04/07/2015|
|Status:||Reviewed||Last Review Date:||02/02/2015|
This document addresses the use of hyaluronan or hylan G-F 20 injections for the replacement or supplementation of naturally occurring intra-articular lubricants in individuals with osteoarthritis in the knees. This is also known as viscosupplementation. Hyaluronan preparations can vary and an initial course of treatment can range from a single injection to weekly injections (7 days apart) for 3 to 5 consecutive weeks.
Note: Please see the following related document for additional information:
An initial course of intra-articular injections of hyaluronan or hylan G-F 20 is considered medically necessary for the treatment of pain due to osteoarthritis of the knee when all of the following criteria are met:
A repeat course of intra-articular injections of hyaluronan or hylan G-F 20 is considered medically necessary for the treatment of pain due to osteoarthritis of the knee for individuals who meet all of the following criteria:
Not Medically Necessary:
The use of intra-articular injections of hyaluronan or hylan G-F 20 is considered not medically necessary for the treatment of pain due to osteoarthritis of the knee when the above criteria are not met and for all other knee conditions.
The following codes for treatments and procedures applicable to this guideline are included below for informational purposes. Inclusion or exclusion of a procedure, diagnosis or device code(s) does not constitute or imply member coverage or provider reimbursement policy. Please refer to the member's contract benefits in effect at the time of service to determine coverage or non-coverage of these services as it applies to an individual member.
|J7321||Hyaluronan or derivative, Hyalgan or Supartz, for intra-articular injection, per dose|
|J7323||Hyaluronan or derivative, Euflexxa, for intra-articular injection, per dose|
|J7324||Hyaluronan or derivative, Orthovisc, for intra-articular injection, per dose|
|J7325||Hyaluronan or derivative, Synvisc or Synvisc-One, for intra-articular injection, 1 mg|
|J7326||Hyaluronan or derivative, Gel-One, for intra-articular injection, per dose|
|J7327||Hyaluronan or derivative, Monovisc, for intra-articular injection, per dose|
|ICD-9 Diagnosis||[For dates of service prior to 10/01/2015]|
|715.16-716.96||Osteoarthrosis, lower leg (all codes in this range ending with fifth digit 6)|
|ICD-10 Diagnosis||[For dates of service on or after 10/01/2015]|
|M17.0-M17.9||Osteoarthritis of knee|
Osteoarthritis is the degeneration of cartilage and the underlying bone within a joint. This can lead to pain and joint stiffness. The specific causes of osteoarthritis are unknown, but it is believed to be both mechanical and molecular events in the affected joint. Onset is gradual and usually begins after age 40. It is estimated that osteoarthritis affects 13.9% of adults aged 25 and older and 33.6% of adults aged 65 and older in the United States. The most prevalent osteoarthritis occurs in the knee. There is no cure for osteoarthritis and current treatment focuses on relieving symptoms and improving function. The injections are considered to be a device by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and several have been approved via the premarket approval process.
A Cochrane review by Bellamy et al in 2006 looked at the use of intra-articular corticosteroid injections for osteoarthritis of the knee. They reported on 9 trials comparing intra-articular corticosteroid injections to intra-articular hyaluronan injections for osteoarthritis in the knee. They concluded that there were no significant differences at 1 to 4 weeks post injection, but between 5 and 13 weeks post injection, hyaluronan was reported to be more effective than corticosteroids.
Chevalier and colleagues (2010) reported on a prospective, randomized, double-blind study of intra-articular injection of hylan G-F 20 versus placebo in 253 individuals with symptomatic osteoarthritis in the knee. A 4-week open, repeat treatment phase study evaluated safety only. Study participants were age 40 years or older, had a diagnosis of knee osteoarthritis found on x-ray, and had continued osteoarthritic pain despite conservative treatment. A total of 232 participants completed the study; 115 in the injection group and 117 in the placebo group. The primary outcome measure was the change in baseline over 26 weeks using the Western Ontario and McMaster Universities (WOMAC) Osteoarthritis Index questionnaire. The participants were followed up at 1, 3, 8, 12, 18 and 26 weeks after injection. At 26 weeks, the participants in the injection group had a 36% change in pain from baseline while the participants in the placebo group had a 25% change in pain from baseline. After the initial treatment, a total of 160 participants went on to be treated in the open, repeat injection phase. A total of 77 participants received a second injection of hylan G-F 20 and 83 participants received a first injection of hylan G-F 20, having received placebo in the initial treatment phase. In the group receiving a second injection of hylan G-F 20, 1 participant experienced an adverse event related to the study treatment and 4 participants experienced adverse events related to the study procedure. For the participants who had adverse events when they previously received hylan G-F 20 in the initial treatment phase and were now receiving their second injection of hylan G-F 20 they did not experience any further adverse events on repeat exposure.
In their 2008 Clinical Practice Guidelines for the treatment of osteoarthritis of the knees, the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons recommended that individuals with symptomatic osteoarthritis of the knees receive acetaminophen or NSAIDs unless there are contraindications to this treatment. They could not recommend for or against the use of intra-intrarticular hyaluronan injections for individuals with mild to moderate symptomatic osteoarthritis of the knees.
In a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study, Navarro-Sarabia et al (2011) reported on the safety and efficacy of repeated injections of hyaluronic acid compared to placebo over a period of 40 months. There were 4 treatment cycles of 5 weekly injections, each 1 with a follow-up period of 6 months after the first and second cycles and 1 year long after the third and fourth cycles. The primary efficacy outcome measure was the percentage of participants who responded clinically to the Osteoarthritis Research Society International (OARSI) 2004 criteria. Participants were considered to be a responder if their pain or physical function score decreased at least 50% and at least 20 mm on the visual analog scale, or if they had 2 of the following 3 findings: a decrease in pain of at least 20% or at least 10 mm on the visual analog scale, a decrease in physical function of at least 20% and at least 10 mm on visual analog scale, or an increase in the score of the global assessment by at least 20% and at least 10 mm on the visual analog scale. Secondary outcomes were measured by the percentage of participants with clinical response according to OARSI criteria at each follow-up visit. A total of 301 participants started the trial. There were 149 participants who received treatment and 152 participants who received placebo. At the end of the study, 109 participants who received treatment completed the study and 94 participants who received placebo completed the study. The number of responders to hyaluronic acid injections increased after each treatment cycle from 71.1% to 80.5% and the number of placebo responders were 67.8% and 65.8%. The number of participants who had at least one adverse event was the same in both treatment groups.
In 2012, the American College of Rheumatology published their recommendations for the use of nonpharmacologic and pharmacologic therapies in osteoarthritis of the hand, hip, and knee (Hochberg, 2012). For individuals with symptomatic knee osteoarthritis they recommend an exercise program, counseling for weight loss if the individual was overweight and use of acetaminophen or NSAIDs (unless there are contraindications to these drugs).
The California Technology Assessment Forum released their 2012 document for hyaluronic acid for treatment of osteoarthritis of the knee: repeated injections and progression to knee replacement. Their conclusion was that repeated injections of intra-articular hyaluronan for the treatment of osteoarthritis of the knee is safe, effective and improves health outcomes when compared with usual care. They did note that repeated injections of hyaluronan do not improve health outcomes for progression to knee replacement or progression of disease.
The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) updated their Clinical Practice Guideline for Treatment of Osteoarthritis of the Knee in 2013. In their recommendations, the AAOS states that they "cannot recommend using hyaluronic acid for patients with symptomatic osteoarthritis of the knee." It was noted that the recommendation was based on lack of efficacy, not on potential harm.
Intra-articular injections: A medical procedure using a hypodermic needle to inject a substance, such as a drug, into the space between two bones.
Osteoarthritis: A degenerative condition of the joints that causes destruction of the material in the joints that absorbs shock and allows proper movement.
Peer Reviewed Publications:
Government Agency, Medical Society, and Other Authoritative Publications:
|Websites for Additional Information|
High Molecular Weight Hyaluronan
Hylan G-F 20
The use of specific product names is illustrative only. It is not intended to be a recommendation of one product over another, and is not intended to represent a complete listing of all products available.
|Reviewed||02/05/2015||Medical Policy & Technology Assessment Committee (MPTAC) review. Updated References and Index.|
|01/01/2015||Updated Coding section with 01/01/2015 HCPCS changes.|
|Reviewed||02/13/2014||MPTAC review. Updated References.|
|New||05/09/2013||MPTAC review. Initial document development.|