Background: Polidocanol is approved for its competence in the treatment of varicose veins and spider veins; however, unfortunately, many of its off-label uses are still underappreciated.
Objective: Lack of an appropriate comprehensive review for off-label uses of this medication troubles physicians about making evidence-based decisions on prescribing it for its various outstanding off-label uses. This article attempts to provide physicians with the latest information concerning successful and unsuccessful use of polidocanol as an alternative treatment for esophageal and gastric varices, tendinopathy and epicondylitis, vascular malformations, varicocele, hydrocele and spermatocele, aneurysmal bone cysts, itching, management of gastrointestinal bleeding, simple renal cysts, reducing the incidence and severity of radio-induced dermatitis and hemorrhoids.
Method: The two databases of MEDLINE and Cochrane Library were searched for all human English studies, published in January 2006 to November 2017, which contained the keyword of “polidocanol” or its alternative MeSH terms.
Results: Our search identified a total number of 597 articles. Those articles that were only discussing the approved uses of polidocanol were excluded and the remaining 116 articles were reviewed. Eleven major and 30 minor off-label uses were found within included studies.
Conclusion: Numerous successful administrations of this drug in a variety of clinical conditions lead to promising perspectives toward it. Sclerotherapy with polidocanol as a minimal-invasive method (having similar outcomes like the prevalent surgeries) may reduce the rate of complications. Furthermore, for determining the most appropriate method and dosage, randomized clinical trials are needed, confirming and providing more clear instructions for different conditions.
Keywords: Polidocanol, off-label use, unapproved use, esophageal and gastric varices, tendinopathy, varicocele.