In Pursuit of Long-Lasting Joint Therapy

As a sports medicine veterinarian, what is the most important reason to consider adding polyacrylamide to your product choices? The answer is simple, long duration of therapy.

Unreliable responses to joint therapies are a significant source of frustration to all equine competitors. “The most important concept to grasp is that most joint conditions are managed, not cured,” says Craig Roberts, DVM, Veterinary Director for NoltrexVet (4% polyacrylamide hydrogel). “When we discuss long-term management, our main outcome goals are a positive therapeutic response with a long duration of effect. Ultimately, everyone wants future injections to be predictable, planned events, not last-minute problems at a competition.”

All of these goals are now more achievable due to the introduction of NoltrexVet to the USA and Canada

NoltrexVet has been around for five years, entering the North American market after clinical efficacy and safety trials were undertaken by leading veterinarians across the United States and Canada. “As with all other new therapies, we initially treated those end-stage osteoarthritis cases where all other therapies had failed,” says Dr. Roberts. “This is not an ideal set of cases for a veterinarian to evaluate the true effectiveness of this product. Nonetheless, a significant number of these difficult cases achieved miraculous results.”

In finding value with these end-stage cases, NoltrexVet has become a welcome new therapeutic option. Today, many veterinarians are now incorporating the product much earlier in the athletic life cycle of their patients and seeing the longer duration of effect compared to other therapies.

NoltrexVet’s method of action results from its lubricating properties. In 2021, Vishwanath et al at Cornell University, in Ithaca, New York, investigated the lubricating effects of the 4% polyacrylamide hydrogel. Using a standardized in vitro neonatal bovid cartilage model, they evaluated the gel with interleukin-1 degraded cartilage and physically impacted cartilage compared to control groups. Friction testing demonstrated improved lubrication values from the addition of the polyacrylamide. Interestingly, histology images of the samples tested with the 4% polyacrylamide hydrogel also showed localization of the lubricant on the surface of the injured tissue.

“NoltrexVet is not a drug, and there is no pharmaceutical action associated with this product,” says Dr. Roberts, “It is truly a lubricant that may have an affinity for cartilage defects. However, further studies are required to detail this effect in the horse. Clinical cases requiring therapy due to damaged cartilage do seem to respond well to NoltrexVet therapy.”

Polyacrylamide gels are a large category of products that are not all the same. Polyacrylamides have been in use in the human health industry since the early 2000s, with different formulations in orthopedics, cosmetic enhancement, contact lenses, wound dressings, and other markets.  NoltrexVet’s origins are in joint therapy, where the human version Noltrex was specifically designed to help manage the effects of osteoarthritis in humans. To date, Noltrex has been used in more than 1 million people in Europe, and NoltrexVet in more than 30,000 horses in the United States and Canada.

NoltrexVet has a major advantage over traditional therapies because it lasts a very long time.

Ask your vet if NoltrexVet is right for your horse.

Polyacrylamide Hydrogel Viscosupplements Lubricate Cartilage After Mechanical Injury and Biochemical Degradation, Vishwanath et al, Trans Orthop Res Soc 46:0685, 2021.