Uses of Topical Becaplermin
Becaplermin topical gel is used as part of a total treatment program to help heal certain ulcers (sores) of the foot, ankle, or leg in people who have diabetes. Becaplermin topical gel must be used along with good ulcer care including: removal of dead tissue by a medical professional; the use of special shoes, walkers, crutches, or wheelchairs to keep weight off the ulcer; and treatment of any infections that develop. Becaplermin topical cannot be used to treat ulcers that have been stitched or stapled. Becaplermin is a human platelet-derived growth factor, a substance naturally produced by the body that helps in wound healing. It works by helping to repair and replace dead skin and other tissues, attracting cells that repair wounds, and helping to close and heal the ulcer.
Side Effects of Topical Becaplermin
Becaplermin topical gel may cause side effects. Tell your doctor if this symptom is severe or does not go away:
- burning feeling at or near the area that you applied becaplermin gel
Becaplermin topical gel may cause other side effects. Tell your doctor if you have any unusual problems while you are using this medication.
Warnings & Precautions
Before using becaplermin topical gel:
- tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to becaplermin, parabens, any other medications, or any of the ingredients in becaplermin gel.
- tell your doctor and pharmacist what prescription and nonprescription medications, vitamins, nutritional products, and herbal supplements you are taking or plan to take. Be sure to mention other medications that are applied to the ulcer.
- tell your doctor if you have a skin tumor or cancer by the area that you are to apply becaplermin topical gel. Your doctor will probably tell you not to use becaplermin topical gel.
- tell your doctor if you have or have ever had poor blood flow to your legs or feet or cancer. Talk to your doctor about the risks of using becaplermin topical gel.
- tell your doctor if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breastfeeding. If you become pregnant while using becaplermin gel, call your doctor.
Becaplermin topical comes as a gel to apply to the skin. It is usually applied once a day to the ulcer. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Use becaplermin topical gel exactly as directed. Do not use more or less of it or use it more often than prescribed by your doctor. Using more gel than your doctor prescribed will not help your ulcer heal faster.
Your doctor will show you how to measure becaplermin topical gel and will tell you how much gel to apply. The amount of gel you will need depends on the size of your ulcer. Your doctor will examine your ulcer every 1 to 2 weeks and may tell you to use less gel as your ulcer heals and grows smaller.
Becaplermin gel is for use on the skin only. Do not swallow the medication. Do not apply the medication to any part of your body other than the ulcer that is being treated.
To apply becaplermin topical gel, follow these steps:
- Wash your hands thoroughly.
- Gently rinse the wound with water. Wash your hands again.
- Squeeze the length of gel your doctor has told you to use onto a clean, nonabsorbent surface such as wax paper. Do not touch the tip of the tube to the wax paper, the ulcer, or any other surface. Recap the tube tightly after use.
- Use a clean cotton swab, tongue depressor, or other applicators to spread the gel over the ulcer surface in an even layer about 1/16th of an inch (0.2 centimeters) thick (about as thick as a penny).
- Moisten a piece of gauze dressing with saline and place it on the wound. The gauze should cover only the wound, not the skin around it.
- Place a small, dry pad dressing over the wound. Wrap a soft, dry gauze bandage over the pad and hold it in place with adhesive tape. Be careful not to attach the adhesive tape to your skin.
- After about 12 hours, remove the bandage and gauze dressing and rinse the ulcer gently with saline or water to remove whatever becaplermin topical gel is left.
- Bandage the ulcer following the instructions in steps 5 and 6. Do not reuse the gauze, dressing, or bandage that you removed before washing the ulcer. Use fresh supplies.
Keep all appointments with your doctor.
Do not let anyone else use your medication. Ask your pharmacist any questions you have about refilling your prescription of becaplermin topical gel.
It is important for you to keep a written list of all of the prescription and nonprescription (over-the-counter) medicines you are taking, as well as any products such as vitamins, minerals, or other dietary supplements. You should bring this list with you each time you visit a doctor or if you are admitted to a hospital. It is also important information to carry with you in case of emergencies.
All information has been provided courtesy of MedLinePlus from the National Library of Medicine and from the FDA.