In 2010, the Auxillium Pharmaceuticals released Xiaflex. The substance in this drug
is a biological enzyme created by a type of bacteria. It has been studied for some
time as it actively digests certain types of collagen. Collagen is the stuff that
makes up your tendons and ligaments among other parts that hold our bodies together.
It is also the main ingredient in the cords that form in Dupuytren’s disease.
In practice, the application of Xiaflex is straightforward. A small amount of the
enzyme is injected under the skin into a distinct cord. Care is taken not to inject
it in or around critical structures as it can be quite damaging. The enzyme then
does its work, slowly digesting the collagen of the cord and weakening it much like
a drop of acid would weaken a rope. Typically the next day, the patient returns
for a follow-up procedure in which the finger is stretched under local anesthesia,
and the cord will usually rupture, releasing the finger to extend more fully.
Just like other methods of correction, the improvement is usually quite good but
may be incomplete. On occasions, a repeat injection may be necessary to gain better
improvement. Each dose typically can treat one cord in one finger. If multiple digits
are involved, multiple doses are necessary, often on separate occasions.
While it can be quite effective, some are discouraged by the expense of the medication,
especially if multiple doses are required.
You can find out more about this treatment at their website.
If you are considering Xiaflex, we can assist you. After an examination and discussion
of options, this may be the treatment for you. Feel free to call us at (253) 833-7750
to arrange a consultation.