New spider vein treatment heading to a doctor's office near you

(MEDSTAR) - For people with unsightly leg veins, treatment is often not about vanity. The veins can hurt. Luckily there's a new treatment just coming to the United States.

Deb Altrogge has been a school bus driver for decades. She has been dealing with aggravating varicose veins for years, too.

"Since 1977," said Altrogge. "That's when I started with my vein problem. After I was seven months pregnant with my first child."

She has worn compression hose, had her varicose veins stripped, and now comes to Dr. Robert Weiss, a dermatological surgeon at Maryland Laser Skin and Vein Institute, for maintenance treatments on her smaller veins.

"These are excess veins," said Dr. Weiss. "It's almost like if our car had ten exhaust pipes, and one of them developed a leak, you'd have nine others that work."

To keep them under control, Dr. Weiss is introducing Altrogge to a new sclerotherapy agent, called Asclera.

"It's a sclerosing solution," said Dr. Weiss, "which is a solution that's used to inject into spider veins and smaller varicose veins. And the nice thing is that it's been used in Europe for actually over 30 years."

Asclera gained FDA favor in March 2010.

"It actually dissolves the inner liner of the vein," said Dr. Weiss. "As it does that, the inside of the vein becomes sticky and the two sides kind of stick to each other and that closes down the vein."

For Altrogge, Asclera means a few pain-free needle sticks.

"That's a process," said Dr. Weiss, "that usually takes from 2-12 weeks for the vein to respond."

Her annual visits keep Altrogge and patients like her one step ahead of vein pain. Asclera will make it into doctor's offices this summer. You should be able to find a provider in your area at

Dr. Weiss adds that potential patients should plan ahead. As mentioned, it takes approximately three months to notice improvement and may require multiple treatments when you first start.

Fast facts:

  • About 25 percent of women and 15 percent of men have visible varicose veins.
  • Nearly 300,000 procedures were performed in 2005 to treat varicose veins.
    Asclera™ is a new treatment that targets varicose veins through chemical injection.
  • It takes about three months for varicose veins to completely disappear after treatment with Asclera.

For general information about varicose veins or spider veins:

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