Interleukin-1 Receptor Antagonist Protein (IRAP) Injections

What is an IRAP injection?

It’s a therapy that helps to reduce inflammation in a joint using your own blood. IRAP therapy is often used to manage chronic knee pain and osteoarthritis It can help reduce inflammation. At the West Coast Center for Orthopedic Surgery and Sports Medicine we believe that IRAP therapy is a wonderful alternative to treat rheumatoid arthritis.

IRAP therapy – studies have shown – can reduce inflammation and pain in patients for six to twelve months. IRAP stands for “Interleukin-1 Receptor Antagonist Protein”. It’s an anti-inflammatory protein and is a product derived from your own blood.

What types of conditions are treated with IRAP injections?

IRAP is most often used to manage chronic knee pain caused by osteoarthritis.

Interleukin-1 receptor antagonist protein (IRAP) injections

How does IRAP therapy work?

The process of IRAP Therapy is simple. A small amount of your own blood is drawn. Just about the same amount of blood you donate to the blood bank. A centrifuge is then used to separate the blood into 3 parts; plasma, platelet rich plasma, and red blood cells.

At this point, the red blood cells and platelets are concentrated and combined. The second part of the process involves the use of specialized centrifuge device that uses a small glass bead to further isolate the IRAP to a higher concentration. This is then injected directly into the joint space.

The results of IRAP Therapy have been studied on several occasions. A multicenter study injected patients with symptomatic knee osteoarthritis (OA). Six doses were considered. One patient received 0.05 mg and 13 patients received 150 mg of IL-1Ra. No acute reaction occurred, and the 150 mg dose was considered the maximum tolerated dose.

The IRAP therapy showed a significant improvement until month three in 13 patients who received 150 mg. Pain improved almost instantly! The study concluded that injections of IL-1Ra in patients with OA was well tolerated and did not induce any acute inflammatory reaction. The feasibility of such injections opens a “promising therapeutic perspective for patients with OA”.

Exactly what causes the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis is not known. The best way to stall the onslaught of the disease would be to block interleukin-1 in the affected joints. And that why IRAP therapy works! We are using the same chemical the body normally uses for the job. IRAP binds the same receptor molecules that allow interleukin-1 into cells.

Is IRAP therapy covered by insurance?

IRAP injections are not covered by health insurance at this time.

How quickly can I get back to my regular routine after IRAP therapy?

IRAP therapy may initially cause mild swelling or stiffness within the first week after your injection. You will need to refrain from strenuous activity and air travel during this week as well. Physical therapy is typically recommended to begin one week after treatment.

Are there any side effects to IRAP injections?

IRAP therapy is safe because your own blood is used in the treatment, which eliminates the chance of a blood-borne disease or other related side effects. As will all injections there is a very small risk of infection at the injection site.

For more information or to schedule an appointment, contact West Coast Orthopedics today.

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