November 27, 2015
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Included as part of the PRECAUTIONS section.



Severe allergic reactions have been reported following administration of liquid polidocanol, including anaphylactic reactions, some of them fatal. Observe patients for at least 10 minutes following injection and be prepared to treat anaphylaxis appropriately.

Tissue Ischemia And Necrosis

Intra-arterial injection or extravasation of polidocanol can cause severe necrosis, ischemia or gangrene Patients with underlying arterial disease, such as marked peripheral arteriosclerosis or thromboangiitis obliterans (Buerger's Disease) may be at increased risk for tissue ischemia. If intra-arterial injection of polidocanol occurs, consult a vascular surgeon immediately.

Venous Thrombosis

Varithena™ can cause venous thrombosis [see ADVERSE REACTIONS]. Follow administration instructions closely and monitor for signs of venous thrombosis after treatment. Patients with reduced mobility, history of deep vein thrombosis or pulmonary embolism, or recent (within 3 months) major surgery, prolonged hospitalization, or pregnancy are at increased risk for developing thrombosis.

Nonclinical Toxicology

Carcinogenesis, Mutagenesis, Impairment Of Fertility

Long-term studies in animals have not been performed to evaluate carcinogenic potential of Varithena™. No mutagenic activity was observed in the in vitro bacterial reverse mutation assay at nontoxic concentrations. No mutagenic activity was observed in the in vitro mouse lymphoma assay in the absence of S9 mix and was weakly mutagenic in the presence of S9 close to the limit of acceptance for the accompanying level of toxicity. No micronucleus induction was detected in the in vivo assay on mouse bone marrow cells up to the maximum tolerated dose of 80 mg/kg.

There was no adverse effect on fertility in both male and female rats at 27 mg/kg/day. This dose level is approximately 13.5 times the proposed maximum human dose based on body surface area.

Animal Toxicology And/Or Pharmacology

The pharmacological effects of polidocanol solution on the renal function of the rat were evaluated and at the highest dose tested (10 mg/kg) hematuria occurred in 67% of animals. This dose is 5 times higher than the proposed maximum human dose based on body surface area. Blood was no longer detectable in urine 24 hours after dosing. In the 28-day repeated dose toxicity study in rat blood, pigments were noted in the urine for animals in all treatment groups, including male controls, at the end of the 4-week treatment period with up to 27 mg polidocanol/kg/day. Following the 2-week recovery period, there was still evidence that blood pigments were present in the urine but the incidence and severity was decreased when compared to the main study animals. There were no histopathological findings in the urinary bladder in any study animals.

In a cardiovascular pharmacology study in the anesthetized dog at 20 mg/kg (approximately 33 times the human dose based on body surface area), statistically significantly higher values for P-Q interval were measured before and during dosing and at all time points up to 30 minutes after dosing. An increase in QRS interval was also measured after dosing of 20 mg/kg and at 5 and 10 minutes after dosing. This effect was short lived and was no longer seen at 15 minutes after dosing. In addition, there was an increase in diastolic pressure with increasing dose of polidocanol. This increase became significantly greater (p < 0.05) than baseline before injection of the final and highest dose (20 mg/kg).

In a further cardiovascular pharmacology study conducted with a once weekly, for four weeks, intravenous bolus injection of Varithena™ in the conscious dog, dose levels of up to 8.0 mL/kg (approximately 17 times the human dose based on body surface area) to beagle dogs caused only a transient, but consistent, effect on respiration, evidenced by a decrease in tidal volume and RMV at 15 minutes post-dose, resolving by one hour post-dose. Histopathology of the lung at the end of the 3month follow-up period showed no abnormalities.

Use In Specific Populations


Pregnancy Category C.

There are no adequate and well-controlled studies of Varithena™ in pregnant women. Do not use Varithena™ during pregnancy.

Animal Studies

Developmental reproductive toxicity testing was performed in rats and rabbits using intravenous administration of polidocanol solution. In rabbits, dose levels up to and including 10 mg/kg/day (approximately 12 times the proposed maximum human dose of 15 mL of 1% Varithena™ based on body surface area) did not produce any indication of adverse effects on embryo-fetal mortality, fetal weight, or the incidences of fetal abnormalities and variants. In rats administered 27 mg/kg/day of polidocanol solution (approximately 13.5 times the human dose based on body surface area), there were no adverse effects on pregnancy performance or fetal development. In a peri-natal and post-natal study in rats, dose levels of polidocanol up to 9 mg/kg/day (approximately 4.5 times the human dose based on body surface area) were without effects on the development of the conceptus and offspring, and at a dose level of 27 mg/kg/day of polidocanol solution (approximately 13.5 times the human dose based on body surface area), effects were confined to an equivocal reduction in body weights of first-generation males, and an associated equivocal delay in the age of preputial separation.

Labor And Delivery

The effects of Varithena™ on labor and delivery in pregnant women are unknown.

Nursing Mothers

It is not known whether polidocanol, the active pharmaceutical ingredient in Varithena™, is excreted in human milk. Because many drugs are excreted in human milk and because of the potential for serious adverse reactions in nursing infants, avoid administering Varithena™ to a nursing woman.

Pediatric Use

Safety and effectiveness in pediatric patients have not been established.

Geriatric Use

Of the 1333 subjects in clinical studies treated with Varithena™, 9.1% (n=121) were ≥ 65 years of age. No clinically important differences in safety or efficacy were observed between older and younger patients in all studies.

This monograph has been modified to include the generic and brand name in many instances.

Last reviewed on RxList: 1/23/2015


Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration


You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

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