Register / Log In

Oral medication clears senile purpura

Boynton Beach, Fla. — A new experimental oral medication known as Purpurex (New Vitality) is effective in improving and even clearing the appearance of senile purpura, while helping to prevent new lesions from occurring, according to a recent study.

Thought to be due to an increased weakening in the connective tissues and blood vessels, senile — or Bateman's — purpura is a chronic condition commonly seen in individuals over age 50. Characterized by dark purple blotches of irregular form and size, the benign lesions are purely cosmetic lesions and typically a source of embarrassment.

"Patients with senile purpura (SP) tend to bruise very easily and develop ecchymoses appearing most commonly on the extensor surfaces of the forearms, legs and hands following suspected trauma to those areas. Until now, no effective treatments have been available to address the condition, let alone help prevent future lesions from occurring," says Joshua M. Berlin, M.D., Dermatology Associates P.A., Boynton Beach, Fla.

Study details

Dr. Berlin recently conducted a clinical trial evaluating the efficacy and safety of Purpurex in improving the skin's appearance in patients with SP. In the multicenter, randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind study, 70 patients with SP were enrolled, of which 67 completed the trial.

Patients were randomized to receive either Purpurex, which consists of a nutraceutical citrus bioflavonoid blend (CBB) of ingredients, or placebo (calcium carbonate) twice daily in oral form for six weeks. A representative area of skin bruising located on either the right or left forearm, hand or leg was selected from each patient and its appearance documented with a high-resolution digital photograph.

Patients were assessed at baseline, two, four and six weeks.

Participants were permitted to take warfarin, clopidogrel or aspirin during the study if they were on these medications previously.

Study results

At the six-week follow up, a 50 percent reduction in the purpura lesions from baseline was seen in those patients receiving Purpurex, compared to a 9 percent increase in purpura lesions in the placebo group. Those patients receiving Purpurex showed a 19 percent, 29 percent and 50 percent decrease in purpura lesions at weeks two, four and six, respectively. No adverse effects were noted in both study arms by either the patients or the investigators.

"We believe that the steady decrease in the number of purpura lesions is due to a cumulative pharmacological effect of the supplement, the ingredients of which work synergistically to improve the appearance of SP and prevent new lesions from forming," Dr. Berlin says.

Nails undergo a significant number of changes in elderly patients, including discoloration, increased curvature and a 40 percent reduction in the growth rate, according to Richard K. Scher, M.D., professor emeritus, dermatology, Columbia University, New York, and the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.

A survey by Merritt Hawkins found that patients wait 22.1 days on average to see a dermatologist, with waits ranging from 3.4 to 104.4 days, depending on the geographical location. Physician assistants and nurse practitioners offer dermatologists an excellent way to expand their availability to more patients, but the value of these advanced practice providers goes well beyond scheduling.

Solar lentigines are common in the aging patient, with 90 percent of Caucasians over age 60 having the condition. Even those who diligently used sunscreen may experience lentigines, because most sunscreens don't block all UV waves.

Preliminary results of a study evaluating biopsy specimens obtained from mature burn scars pre- and postfractional CO2 laser resurfacing show histologic changes that are consistent with the clinical improvement achieved, but further data is needed to understand the mechanisms leading to normal skin regeneration, reported David M. Ozog, M.D., at the 2011 annual meeting of the American Society for Laser Medicine and Surgery.

The surgical removal of the lymph nodes in patients who are found to have positive nodes after undergoing sentinel lymph node biopsy (SLNB) improves survival, compared to patients who have melanoma spread to lymph nodes when the disease is large enough to be felt with a physical examination, according to a surgical oncologist.