What is Becaplermin?

Jennifer Long

Becaplermin is a topical gel used to treat the outbreak of skin ulcers on the legs, ankles, and feet. These ulcers occur in people with diabetes. It is one of the diabetes creams that uses a platelet growth factor to help foot ulcers and ankle sores heal more quickly.

Doctor taking notes
Doctor taking notes

Neurotrophic ulcers are common problems for people who have diabetes. They occur in areas with increased pressure, generally on the feet and ankles. The reduced feeling of these areas, combined with pressure, create foot sores and ankle ulcers, which are open wounds.

Becaplermin is one of the diabetes medications that is used to treat these sores. The medication alone, however, is not enough. Proper healing of the ulcers also involves steps to clean and care for the wounds. Patients should also be taught about wearing the correct footwear and the aid of diabetic socks to increase blood circulation.

This medication works on a cellular level. The body naturally produces a platelet growth chemical that promotes healing of open wounds. Becaplermin stimulates the production of cells. By applying the medication to the ulcers, these cells are attracted to the site. At this point, the cells begin the healing process that will close the ulcers.

Becaplermin should not be used if the patient has a known allergy. It is also not recommended for use on skin ulcers in patients who have skin cancer. If there are any wounds with staples, stitches, or surgical tape, this gel should not be applied.

It should not be used more than one time a day. The prescribing physician will specify the length of time that the becaplermin gel should be used. Depending on how quickly the ulcers respond to the medication, the doctor may adjust the amount of gel used with each application.

The needed dosage depends on the size of the ulcer that needs treatment. The gel is applied in a strip on wax paper or foil and applied to the ulcer using gauze or another similar sanitary aid. After application, the area should be covered with gauze moistened in saline for about 12 hours, removed, and replaced with a new moistened piece without reapplying more of the gel.

Keeping the ulcers clean and cared for will help ensure an infection will not occur and healing can continue. Open ulcers should be rinsed with medical grade saline. When switching gauze, the becaplermin gel can be removed using saline as well.

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