Novel developments in foam sclerotherapy: Focus on Varithena® (polidocanol endovenous microfoam) in the management of varicose veins


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Abstract

ScopeVarithena® is a recently approved commercially available drug/delivery unit that produces foam using 1% polidocanol for the management of varicose veins. The purpose of this review is to examine the benefits of foam sclerotherapy, features of the ideal foam sclerosant and the strengths and limitations of Varithena® in the context of current foam sclerotherapy practices.MethodElectronic databases including PubMed, Medline (Ovid) SP as well as trial registries and product information sheets were searched using the keywords, ‘Varithena’, ‘Varisolve’, ‘polidocanol endovenous microfoam’, ‘polidocanol’ and/or ‘foam sclerotherapy/sclerosant’. Articles published prior to 20 September 2016 were identified.ResultsFoam sclerosants have effectively replaced liquid agents due to their physiochemical properties resulting in better clinical outcomes. Medical practitioners commonly prepare sclerosant foam at the bedside by agitating liquid sclerosant with a gas such as room air, using techniques as described by Tessari or the double syringe method. Such physician-compounded foams are highly operator dependent producing inconsistent foams of different gas/liquid compositions, bubble size, foam behaviour and varied safety profiles. Varithena® overcomes the variability and inconsistencies of physician-compounded foam. However, Varithena® has limited applications due to its fixed sclerosant type and concentration, cost and lack of worldwide availability. Clinical trials of Varithena® have demonstrated efficacy and safety outcomes equivalent or better than physician-compounded foam but only in comparison to placebo alone.ConclusionVarithena® is a promising step towards the creation of an ideal sclerosant foam. Further assessment in independent randomised controlled clinical trials is required to establish the advantages of Varithena® over and above the current best practice physician-compounded foam.

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