Xiapex™ for Dupuytren’s Disease
Xiapex is an out-patient injection treatment to correct the hand problems caused by Dupuytren’s disease. This treatment was approved for use in the UK after more than a decade of extensive research and clinical trials. Xiapex is not currently available within the NHS to patients from Cambridgshire and Peterborough.
The drug is injected into Dupuytren’s tissue, and slowly breaks down the large protein fibres responsible for the disease. Patients return to the clinic two days later in-order to have the finger stretched into a flatter posture. Xiapex consists of an enzyme (clostridium histiolyticum collagenase), which has a high level of specificity for the cords of protein which cause Dupuytren’s disease.
The potential advantages of Xiapex
Treatment with Xiapex avoids surgery, the skin and soft-tissues of the hand seem to recover quicker than after equivalent surgery. The most compelling feature of this treatment, compared to surgery, has been the rapid recovery of the soft tissues of the hand. A video of this treatment showing some of my patients at one week can be seen on: www.cambridgemedicalconsultants.co.uk/page2.htm
Duputren’s disease can return after any treatment. Initial clinical studies of six hundred patients, three years after treatment suggests that the recurrence rate after Xiapex-treatment, is equivalent to the recurrence rate after surgery. Treatment with Xiapex injection does not stop a patient having surgical treatment at a later date.
Xiapex does not cure Dupuytren’s disease. Patients will experience recurrence. For most patients the pain after injection is mild or moderate, for some the pain is more intense. There is also a small risk of failure, and a small risk of nerve or tendon damage. Some patients develop a small skin split that usually heals within days. Xiapex is a drug, some patients may develop an allergic reaction to Xiapex.
What is involved in Xiapex treatment?
Visit 1: The injection
I carry out the injection in the out-patient clinic at the Spire Lea hospital Cambridge. This is not an operation, there is no incision, the drug is injected with a small syringe, using a very fine needle. This is not particularly pain-full. After injection the hand is wrapped in a bulky bandage.
Patients need to be prepared to stay at the hospital for 30 minutes after the injection and should not drive themselves home.
Visit 2: The manipulation
Patients are asked to return two days later. Most patients are aware of an ache and bruising or swelling in the hand. Patients who take aspirin will have more bruising.
The dressings are removed and a small amount of local anaesthetic is injected into the palm. I then stretch the finger into a flatter posture, snapping any remaining tight cords of Dupuytren’s tissue. This maneuver can cause a small split in the skin (which almost always heals in less than one week).
Patients need to be prepared to stay at the hospital for 75 minutes and should not drive themselves home after the manipulation.
The hand is wrapped in a light dressing to support the fingers in an extended posture. Most patients remove the dressings 5 days later.