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Drugs

Side Effects
Serious

No serious side effects are associated with the use of becaplermin.
Common

Irritation at the site of application.
Less Common

No less-common side effects are associated with becaplermin.
Becaplermin


Drug Class:
Topical recombinant human growth factor

Available OTC?: No

Available Generic?: No

Available In
Why Prescribed
How It Works
Range and Frequency
Onset of Effect
Duration of Action
Dietary Advice
Storage
Missed Dose
Stopping the Drug
Prolonged Use
Over 60
Driving and Hazardous Work
Alcohol
Pregnancy
Breast Feeding
Infants and Children
Special Concerns
Overdose Symptoms
What to Do
Drug Interactions
Food Interactions
Disease Interactions


Available In
Topical gel

Why Prescribed
To treat diabetic ulcers that develop on the lower legs.

How It Works
Becaplermin is a genetically engineered form of a naturally occurring human platelet-derived growth factor. It helps heal ulcers by attracting and promoting the growth of cells involved in wound repair and the formation of new tissue.

Range and Frequency
Apply a thin, continuous layer (approximately 1/16th of an inch in thickness) of becaplermin, as directed by your doctor, to the affected area once a day. Cover the treated area with a saline-moistened dressing and leave in place for 12 hours. The dressing should then be removed and the area rinsed with water or saline to remove any residual gel. Cover the area again with a second saline-moistened dressing (without the gel) for the rest of the day. Your doctor will tell you how much becaplermin to apply to the affected area and how to apply it.

Onset of Effect
Unknown.

Duration of Action
Unknown.

Dietary Advice
Becaplermin can be applied without regard to meals.

Storage
Keep refrigerated, but do not allow it to freeze. Discard unused portions after the expiration date.

Missed Dose
If you miss a dose on one day, resume your regular treatment regimen the next day, following your doctor's instructions on the amount of gel to apply.

Stopping the Drug
The decision to stop taking the drug should be made in consultation with your physician.

Prolonged Use
Consult your doctor if the ulcer does not shrink in size by 30% after 10 weeks or complete healing has not occurred after 20 weeks.

Over 60
No special problems are expected.

Driving and Hazardous Work
The use of becaplermin should not impair your ability to perform such tasks safely.

Alcohol
No special precautions are necessary.

Pregnancy
Adequate human studies have not been done. Before using becaplermin, tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant.

Breast Feeding
Becaplermin may be absorbed into the bloodstream and pass into breast milk; caution is advised. Consult your doctor for specific advice.

Infants and Children
Not recommended for use by children under age 16.

Special Concerns
Wash your hands thoroughly before and after applying becaplermin. Do not allow the tip of the tube to touch the ulcer, your finger, or any other surface. Becaplermin should be applied in a carefully measured quantity each day. Your doctor will teach you how to determine the correct amount based on the size of the ulcer area. The calculated amount of gel should be squeezed onto a clean measuring surface (for example, wax paper). Becaplermin should then be transferred to the affected area using an applicator such as a clean cotton swab or a tongue depressor. The amount of becaplermin to be applied should be recalculated at weekly or biweekly intervals by your doctor. Becaplermin should be used together with a good ulcer-care program, including a strict non-weight-bearing program.

Overdose Symptoms
No cases of overdose have been reported.

What to Do
An overdose with becaplermin is unlikely. If someone applies a much larger dose than prescribed or accidentally ingests the gel, call your doctor.

Drug Interactions
Consult your doctor if you are applying any other topical medication to the affected area.

Food Interactions
No known food interactions.

Disease Interactions
You should not apply becaplermin if you have any cancerous or other unusual growths at the affected area. Consult your doctor for specific advice.

Date Published: 04/13/2005
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