VeinCare Centers of Tennessee was one of the principal investigating sites during the clinical trials for Varithena ®. Our tests showed Varithena ® to be effective in treating the great saphenous, accessory saphenous, and visible varicose veins over 3 mm in diameter which feed into the great or accessory saphenous veins. While other superficial veins such as the small saphenous vein can be treated with Varithena ®, the clinical trials did not evaluate treatment of these other veins.
Varithena ® is effective in treating these veins while allowing the treatment with very minimal local discomfort due to a two-second long injection of local anesthetic. Endovenous thermal ablation with radiofrequency (the VNUS ClosureFast or Venefit procedure) or LASER are the standard techniques for treating the great saphenous or accessory saphenous veins, but they require injection of a local anesthetic along the length of the vein to be treated. Many patients will prefer the Varithena ® procedure due to the very brief injection of local anesthesia. It is not necessary to take pain medication or anti-anxiety drugs prior to the Varithena ® procedure, and patients may resume nearly normal activity shortly after the procedure.
Varithena ® foam displaces blood from the abnormal great saphenous vein or varicose veins which allows the liquid component of the foam to come into contact with the vein wall. The complex alcohol molecule, polidocanol, in Varithena ® causes the vein to swell and seal closed; over time, the vein shrinks and it reabsorbed by the body. This form of treatment is called endovenous chemical ablation with ultrasound guidance.
Your ultrasound will demonstrate many normally-functioning veins in your legs which carry the venous blood out of the legs. The Varithena ® procedure seals the abnormal veins which allow a downward leak of blood in the leg veins. By sealing the abnormal veins, the remaining normal veins are much more efficient at pumping the blood out of the legs.
Some patients need only one treatment; others may require several treatments. The recommended maximum amount of Varithena ® to be used for most procedures is 15 ml. The volume of Varithena ® required to treat depends upon the size, shape, location, and number of veins to be treated.
Over time, previously normal veins will stretch due to the effects of gravity and new varicose veins will form. One can limit this by maintaining a normal body weight, wearing elastic compression hose, exercise, avoiding prolonged sitting and standing when feasible, and by treating significant varicose veins when they develop.
Only time will tell. As usually is the case with introduction of new drugs or technology, it is unknown which insurers will pay for treatment with Varithena ® and under what circumstances they will pay for the physician procedure to inject the drug. Some insurers may pay for the procedure and drug under some circumstances, but all treatment initially must be performed after an attempt to get the insurer to pre-approve treatment. Some patients will choose to have the treatment on a private basis. The cost depends upon the amount of drug utilized and the complexity of the procedure.
Varithena ® is a registered trademark of Provensis Ltd, a BTG International group company.
"As a patient for eleven years, my recommendations are very high. I hold Dr. Stephen F. Daugherty in the highest esteem as a man, a doctor and a surgeon. The staff is very friendly and courteous." -- E.W.