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Collagenase for Dupuytren's Disease


Generic Name Brand Name
collagenase Xiaflex

Collagenase for Dupuytren's disease is injected into the tight cord.

How It Works

Collagenase is an enzyme that breaks up the tight tissue in Dupuytren's disease. Sometimes the injection makes the tissue weak, but the finger is still bent. In these cases, the day after the injection the doctor may straighten the finger.

Why It Is Used

Collagenase is used to break up tight tissue to allow the finger to straighten.

How Well It Works

In most cases, collagenase can help reduce the contracture and improve the range of motion.1

Side Effects

All medicines have side effects. But many people don't feel the side effects, or they are able to deal with them. Ask your pharmacist about the side effects of each medicine you take. Side effects are also listed in the information that comes with your medicine. Usually the benefits of the medicine are more important than any minor side effects.

Call911or other emergency services right away if you have:

Call your doctor if you have:

  • Hives.
  • Pain or swelling that you cannot tolerate.

Common side effects of this medicine include:

  • Swelling.
  • Bruising.
  • Bleeding.
  • Pain or itching.

See Drug Reference for a full list of side effects. (Drug Reference is not available in all systems.)

What To Think About

Tell your doctor about any medicines you take, especially drugs that slow blood clotting, such as aspirin or warfarin.

Collagenase disrupts collagen, which is part of tissues such as tendons and ligaments. Damage to tendons or ligaments in the area of the injection is possible.

You may have a splint after your injection or after your follow-up visit with your doctor. Wear the splint as instructed.

Do not try to straighten your finger yourself if it is still bent after the injection.

Taking medicine

Medicine is one of the many tools your doctor has to treat a health problem. Taking medicine as your doctor suggests will improve your health and may prevent future problems. If you don't take your medicines properly, you may be putting your health (and perhaps your life) at risk.

There are many reasons why people have trouble taking their medicine. But in most cases, there is something you can do. For suggestions on how to work around common problems, see the topic Taking Medicines as Prescribed.

Advice for women

If you are pregnant, breast-feeding, or planning to get pregnant, do not use any medicines unless your doctor tells you to. Some medicines can harm your baby. This includes prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, herbs, and supplements. And make sure that all your doctors know that you are pregnant, breast-feeding, or planning to get pregnant.


Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.

Complete the new medication information form (PDF)(What is a PDF document?) to help you understand this medication.


  1. Hurst LC, et al. (2009). Injectable collagenase clostridium histolyticum for Dupuytren's contracture. New England Journal of Medicine, 361(10): 968–979.

By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Herbert von Schroeder, MD, MSc, FRCSC - Hand and Microvascular Surgery
Current as of May 14, 2012

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: May 14, 2012
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

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