1 What is Varithena?

Brand: Varithena

Generic: Polidocanol

Varithena injection is a sclerosing agent used for the treatment of small varicose veins of the lower legs.

Incompetent great saphenous veins, accessory saphenous veins, and visible varicose veins above and below the knees can also be treated with this drug.

This drug is to be given only by or under the direct supervision of your healthcare professional.

2 What to Know Before Using

Before using Varithena, you must know all about the risks and complications associated with it. Inform your healthcare provider for any allergic reactions to these drugs or any other drugs, foods, dyes, preservatives, or animals. Carefully read the label of non-prescription drugs for any possible allergic reaction or contraindications.

Studies in children regarding the correlation of age to the effects of polidocanol injection have not been performed while safety and efficacy have not been established. Studies in the elderly have not demonstrated any geriatric-specific problems that would limit the utility of polidocanol injection.

Adverse effects have been reported in animal studies but studies in pregnant women or animals are still inadequate. Infant risk is still undetermined when using this drug during breastfeeding. Discuss with your healthcare professional about the potential risks and benefits of taking this drug while breastfeeding.

Drugs should not be taken together to prevent any interactions but in necessary cases inquire your healthcare provider regarding the adjustments in dosage or any other necessary precautions to prevent any unwanted side effects.

Inform your healthcare professional if you are taking any other prescription or nonprescription drugs. Intake of specific food or using alcohol or tobacco with this drug is associated with an increased risk of certain side effects.

Your healthcare professional can give you special instructions about the use of food, alcohol, or tobacco.

Inform your healthcare provider for any other medical problems such as:

  • Blood clots
  • Blood clotting disorders
  • Major surgery
  • Prolonged immobilization
  • Blood vessel disease

3 Proper Usage

Proper usage of Varithena requires strict adherence to your doctor’s orders. A trained healthcare professional will be the only one to give you this drug in a hospital. This drug is administered intravenously through a needle placed in one of your veins.

4 Precautions to Take

Before using Varithena, there are some precautions you must take. Regular visits should be made to your healthcare provider to track your progress and to monitor the effectiveness of the drug.

Seek immediate medical attention if you have symptoms of anaphylaxis such as:

  • Rash
  • Itching
  • Hoarseness
  • Trouble breathing
  • Trouble swallowing
  • Swelling of your hands, face or mouth after receiving this drug.

Compression stockings or support hose must be worn on the treated legs continuously for 2 to 3 days or for 5 to 7 days, and for 2 to 3 weeks during daytime to help prevent blood clot formation. You will be advised to walk for 10 to 20 minutes immediately after the treatment and daily for the next few days.

Contact your healthcare professional if you notice any side effects at the injection site such depressed or indented skin, blue-green to black skin discoloration, or pain, redness, or sloughing of the skin. Heavy exercise, sunbathing, long plane flights, and hot baths or sauna for 2 to 3 days must be avoided after receiving this drug.

5 Potential Side Effects

Make sure you meet with your doctor in using Varithena to avoid unwanted potential side effects. Side effects may vary for each individual and prompt medical attention should be given if they occur. 

Seek advice from your healthcare professional immediately if you experience any unusual symptoms such as:

  • Bleeding
  • Blistering
  • Burning
  • Coldness
  • Discoloration of the skin
  • Feeling of pressure
  • Hives
  • Infection
  • Inflammation
  • Itching
  • Lumps
  • Numbness
  • Pain, Rash, Redness, Scarring, Soreness, Stinging, Swelling, Tenderness, Tingling, Ulceration, or Warmth at the injection site
  • Collection of blood under the skin of the injection site
  • Deep, Dark purple bruise at the injection site
  • Anxiety
  • Blue-green to black skin discoloration
  • Blurred vision
  • Burning, Crawling, Itching, Numbness, Prickling, "Pins and Needles", or Tingling feelings
  • Chest pain
  • Cough
  • Darkening of the skin
  • Difficult or Labored breathing
  • Difficulty with swallowing
  • Dizziness or Lightheadedness
  • Fainting
  • Fast, Irregular, Pounding, or Racing heartbeat or pulse
  • Fever
  • Inability to speak
  • Increased hair growth in the treatment area
  • Large, Hive-like swelling on the face, eyelids, lips, tongue, throat, hands, legs, feet, or sex organs
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Nerve injury
  • No blood pressure or pulse
  • Noisy breathing
  • Pain, Redness or Sloughing of the skin at the injection site
  • Pain, Redness, or Swelling in the arm or leg
  • Puffiness or Swelling of the eyelids or around the eyes, face, lips, or tongue, seizures
  • A severe or a sudden headache
  • Shortness of breath
  • Skin rash
  • Slurred speech
  • Sores, Welting, or Blisters
  • Stopping of the heart
  • Sudden shortness of breath or Troubled breathing
  • Temporary blindness
  • Tightness in the chest
  • Unconsciousness
  • Unusual tiredness or weakness
  • Weakness in the arm or leg on one side of the body
  • Sudden and Severe wheezing

Some side effects may occur that usually do not need medical attention. As your body adjusts to the medicine, the side effects will slowly disappear. Ask your healthcare professional about ways to prevent or reduce some of these side effects.

If any of the following side effects persists or are inconvenient, or if you notice any other effects, or if you have any questions about them, consult with your health care professional. Report any side effects to the FDA hotline at 1-800-FDA-1088.