What is Hyaluronidase?

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  • Written By: Debra Durkee
  • Edited By: Jenn Walker
  • Last Modified Date: 20 October 2019
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Hyaluronidase is a protein that is administered via an injection. Engineered from a type of cow protein, it aids the human body in the absorption of other types of medications. As an aid, it is generally given alongside other types of drugs. It is also sold under the brand name Amphadase™.

The medication acts by temporarily increasing the permeability of cell walls and the other bonds that hold the cells together. With these bonds weakened, it is easier for other medications to be absorbed into the cells and distributed throughout the body. One of the most common applications for hyaluronidase is in individuals who are being administered various types of dyes. Hyaluronidase allows for the thorough absorption of the dye, which then shows up on various full body scans of the individual and allows medical professionals to get a clearer picture of what is going on inside the body.

The injection is generally administered under the skin and can be used in adults and children as well as in geriatric patients. If it is administered into a vein, it will be contained within the blood stream and therefore will not function properly. Amounts of the fluid injected depend on the individual. Certain other medications are incompatible with hyaluronidase and combining them is likely to cause side effects, so care must be taken when administering. Some individuals may react to the injection itself and develop redness, soreness, or bruising around the site where the needle was inserted.


The most severe side effects individuals generally have in connection with the administration of this chemical is edema. This fluid retention generally results in swelling of the extremities, and it is usually relatively mild. When hyaluronidase is given with an anesthetic, the strength of the anesthetic can be raised, causing it to take effect faster than normal. As this impact is heightened, there is also the chance that the anesthetic will wear off faster than in patients who have not been given hyaluronidase. In some cases, the drug can interact with over-the-counter medications, such as various antihistamines.

Hyaluronidase can be toxic to some individuals, and this sensitivity is generally tested first with the administration of a small amount of the drug. In sensitive individuals, this small dose is enough to bring about mild symptoms of toxicity. Severe edema, gastrointestinal distress such as vomiting and nausea, chills, or a drop in blood pressure are signs of a sensitivity and continuation of the drug is generally not recommended.


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