Regranex® is a brand name of the generic medication becaplermin. This drug is prescribed to treat skin ulcers, typically caused by diabetes, on the feet or lower legs. Regranex® works by encouraging wound healing through the stimulation of cell formation and tissue growth.
This medication is a gel that is applied topically on the skin. The doctor will typically direct the patient to apply a carefully measured dose to the ulcer once daily. Applying it more often than prescribed may be dangerous and will not encourage faster healing.
Regranex® should be applied with thoroughly cleaned hands or gloves. The ulcer should be rinsed gently with just water, after which more hand washing is required. Patients should measure the correct amount of gel onto a piece of wax paper or other clean, non-absorbent surface. It is imperative that tip of the Regranex® tube not touch any surface.
After replacing the cap on the tube, the patient will then use a sterile cotton swab to evenly spread the gel over the ulcer. He must then add a small amount of saline to a square of gauze dressing and place it on the ulcer. A dry dressing will go on top of this. The entire area should be wrapped with a soft gauze bandage secured with adhesive tape. This dressing should remain in place for 12 hours, followed by a gentle rinse and re-bandaging, but skipping the gel as per the doctor's instructions.
This treatment is only part of a healing program for diabetic ulcers. A doctor must also remove dead tissue around the wound. The patient may need to wear special shoes to accommodate the wound and may also require a wheelchair or walker to decrease the weight placed on that leg. Additional treatment, such as antibiotics for an infection, may also be prescribed.
As of 2010, it is not yet known whether there is a definite link between the use of Regranex® and cancer. Preliminary studies indicate that among users of Regranex® who develop cancer, that disease may be more likely to be fatal. This is not proven, however. It is imperative for patients to inform their doctors of whether they have ever had cancer or any other growths, particularly near the ulcer site.
Patients should also disclose whether they have other medical conditions, such as allergies. There may be risks to an unborn or breastfeeding baby. Few side effects are reported from the use of Regranex®, however it may cause a rash.