Do you suffer from diabetes? If so, you know how much it can complicate your life. And now, unfortunately, you may have one more thing to worry about if you’ve ever used Regranex, a foot gel used to treat diabetic leg and foot wounds. This gel could increase the risk of cancer and death in those who have used it. Keep reading for some important information regarding the possible deadly effects of this medicated gel.
Do you suffer from diabetes? If so, you know how much it can complicate your life. Constantly monitoring your diet, making sure you are getting enough exercise and keeping an eye on your insulin levels are just a few of the things you must deal with on a daily basis – all of that is definitely not easy!
And now, unfortunately, you may have one more thing to worry about if you’ve ever used Regranex, a foot gel used to treat diabetic leg and foot wounds. This gel, made by Johnson & Johnson, could increase the risk of cancer and death in those who have used it.
If you’ve used Regranex, or know someone who has – or who is diabetic, you’ll want to keep reading. Below is some important information regarding the possible deadly effects of this medicated gel.
The FDA Report
The Food and Drug Administration reported on a study of Regranex which found that there was an increase in the number of cancer deaths among patients who were prescribed the gel and used it more than three times. Regranex was approved for patients in the United States in 1997 to treat diabetic leg and foot wounds.
An insurance plan database found an increase in cancer deaths from January 1998 to June 2003. There were no specific cancers identified. In an earlier study in 2001, there were more cancers found in Regranex patients than in those who did not use the gel.
Diabetes changes the way your body uses sugar found in food. If you do not have the right treatment, sugar levels in your blood can go too high or too low. This can cause you to have problems with your blood circulation, which in turn makes you more likely to get infections. This disease can also cause nerve problems, reducing the feeling in your legs and feet.
Your feet can also get sores (ulcers) that do not heal well. This is why it is important for diabetics to take care of their feet. If you do not take care of your feet from the get-go, surgery may eventually be required.
Some symptoms to be aware of include cold feet or feet that are blue or black in color, warm feet or feet that are red in color, swollen feet, weak pulses in your feet, not feeling pain even when there is a cut or sore, and if you have pain in your feet even when you are resting or active.
Prevention is Key!
The best thing you can do to help with your diabetes-related foot problems involves preventative care:
• Be sure to check and wash your feet every single day.
• Have control over your blood pressure and blood sugar.
• Exercise will help increase blood flow to your feet.
• Make sure your socks fit right and that your shoes are not too tight.
• Check your feet as soon as you take off your shoes.
• Keep toe nails trimmed to prevent in grown toe nails.
• Never, ever walk barefoot in public places.
• If you smoke, quit.
One Step at a Time
It’s important to remember that this link is an initial finding and that more research will most likely be done. The FDA reported in a statement, “At this time, FDA believes that there may be some evidence for an increased risk of death from cancer in patients who had repeated treatments with Regranex.” They also reported, “Because there are known risks associated with diabetic foot and leg ulcers that do not heal, the potential risk of using Regranex should be weighed against the benefit for each individual patient.”
So, what are diabetic patient’s to do with their foot ulcers? Treatment depends on how well you are able to control your diabetes. Some options include:
• Debridement is the removal of dead skin from a wound.
• Electrical stimulation is when a machine increases the activity of the muscles and nerves in a specific area.
• Anti-microbial therapy is medicine that destroys or prevents growth of germs that will cause infection.
• Aspirin can thin blood to keep it from clotting.
• Revascularization, which is surgery to make or repair blood vessels to get blood circulation back into the foot or leg.
With this current information from the Food and Drug Administration, you might want to check with your physician to find out alternative options to Regranex, as there may be other options to help you with your foot ulcers. And remember, preventative measures are your best bet to minimizing your risk for foot wounds.