Frequently Asked Questions on New FDA-Approved XIAFLEX® Treatment for Dupuytren’s Contracture.
Last month we wrote about a new FDA-approved non surgical injection therapy, XIAFLEX®, available for Dupuytren’s patients suffering from Dupuytren’s Contracture. Physicians using the new therapy have undergone special training and can help patients assess the benefits of this treatment over others available.
While nothing should replace a patient-physician consultation, we have compiled some of the most commonly asked questions regarding this new injection therapy to help better inform and prepare patients exploring treatment options.
Q. What exactly is the XIAFLEX injection therapy and how does it work?
A. XIAFLEX is actually “collagenase clostridium histolyticum.” When it is injected directly into the Dupuytren’s cord (disposition of collagen causing the contracture), it disrupts/weakens the collagen and helps your physician to break down the cord.
Q. How long will it take to see results after the injection?
A. While the rate of the improvement will vary from patient to patient, generally some improvement is evident within the first week, with progressive improvement as your physician breaks down the cord. Multiple injections may be necessary depending on the severity of the contracture and number of fingers involved.
Q. Are there any risks with this type of injection therapy?
A. As with any medication, there is risk of an adverse reaction. The FDA requires special training on the medication before a physician can administer it. Risks are minimized when a specially trained, board certified orthopedic hand surgeon administers this medication.
According to the manufacturer of this medication, Auxilliam, some of the safety concerns include:
• Tendon or ligament damage
• Nerve injury or other serious injury of the hand
• Allergic reactions
• Swollen face
• Breathing trouble
• Chest pain
Q. Are there any other nonsurgical treatment options for Dupuytren’s Disease?
A. Another popular minimally invasive treatment option for Dupuytren’s is the needle aponeurotomy(also known as NA or percutaneous needle fasciotomy, PNF). This procedure does not involve a surgical incision but rather small stitches made by inserting a thin needle into the contracted cord, eventually weakening it and allowing it to be broken down.