A new treatment has been approved by the FDA for the treatment of Dupuytren's contracture. This treatment, an enzyme called collagenase, and sold under the trade name Xiaflex, is injected into the hands where Dupuytren's has formed. Xiaflex is injected by your doctor on one visit, the collagenase works to weaken the Dupuyten's tissue, and then your doctor will manipulate the finger the following day to break apart the Dupuytren's.
Xiaflex is an exciting treatment in that it allows patients with bent fingers to find relief from their condition. To top it off, no surgery is needed, and therefore risks such as infection are incredibly rare. That said, there are some concerns about Xiaflex. One rare complication can occur if Xiaflex is injected too close to a tendon. If this occurs, the tendon can rupture (the collagenase dissolves the tendon tissue) requiring a surgery to fix the problem.
However, the bigger concern at this time, is who is going to pay for Xiaflex? The cost of the medication has yet to be announced, and it is unclear if this is a medication patients or insurance companies will end up paying for. The cost of the medication may end up making this treatment less of an option for many patients.
Photo © John D. Mahoney, M.D.