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Polidocanol (By injection)

Polidocanol (pol-ee-doe-KAY-nol)

Treats varicose veins of the legs.

Brand Name(s):

Asclera, Varithena

There may be other brand names for this medicine.

When This Medicine Should Not Be Used:

This medicine is not right for everyone. You should not receive it if you had an allergic reaction to polidocanol.

How to Use This Medicine:


  • Your doctor will prescribe your dose and schedule. This medicine is given through a needle placed in a vein.
  • A nurse or other health provider will give you this medicine.
  • Wear compression stockings or a support hose on the treated leg all the time. The length of time depends on what kind of veins you had treated, but it is usually between 2 and 14 days. Continue to wear these during the day for 2 to 3 weeks longer. This will help prevent blood clots.
  • Walk for 10 to 20 minutes for Varithena™ or 15 to 20 minutes for Asclera® right away after the treatment and daily for at least the next several days. You may need to walk daily for up to a month.
  • Avoid heavy exercise, sunbathing, long plane flights, and hot baths or saunas for up to 1 week after you receive this medicine. Do not spend long periods of time being inactive (including long car rides) for 1 month after treatment.

Drugs and Foods to Avoid:

Ask your doctor or pharmacist before using any other medicine, including over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products.

Warnings While Using This Medicine:

  • Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, or if you have blood vessel, circulation, or blood clotting problems (including deep vein thrombosis, pulmonary embolism). Tell your doctor if you had a major surgery in the past 3 months.
  • This medicine may cause the following problems:
    • Damage to the skin and other tissues at the injection site (may leave a scar)
    • Increased risk of blood clots in the brain, heart, blood vessels, or lungs, which may lead to stroke, heart attack, deep vein thrombosis, or pulmonary embolism
  • Your doctor will check your progress and the effects of this medicine at regular visits. Keep all appointments.

Possible Side Effects While Using This Medicine:

Call your doctor right away if you notice any of these side effects:

  • Allergic reaction: Itching or hives, swelling in your face or hands, swelling or tingling in your mouth or throat, chest tightness, trouble breathing
  • Chest pain, trouble breathing, coughing up blood
  • Numbness or weakness in your arm or leg, or on one side of your body, sudden or severe headache, problems with vision, speech, or walking
  • Pain in your lower leg (calf)
  • Pain, itching, burning, swelling, or a lump under your skin where the needle is placed

If you notice these less serious side effects, talk with your doctor:

  • Mild bruise where the needle is placed

If you notice other side effects that you think are caused by this medicine, tell your doctor

Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088

Last Updated: 5/1/2020

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