Oceana Therapeutics receives FDA approval for Solesta injectable gel to treat fecal incontinence

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration today approved a sterile, injectable gel to treat fecal incontinence in patients for whom other therapies such as diet change, fiber therapy or anti-motility medications failed.

Fecal incontinence is the involuntary loss of bowel control. It can have different causes including nerve damage, weakened anal sphincter associated with aging, or rectum muscle damage. According to the National Institutes of Health, there are more than 5.5 million Americans with fecal incontinence.

The Solesta gel is injected into a layer of tissue beneath the anus lining and may help build tissue in that area. By growing the surrounding tissue, the opening of the anus narrows and the patient may be able to better control those muscles.

"Fecal incontinence is difficult to treat," said Christy Foreman, director of the Office of Device Evaluation at the FDA's Center for Devices and Radiological Health. "This approval provides a minimally invasive treatment option for patients with fecal incontinence that does not respond to conservative therapies."

The FDA based its approval on results from a clinical study of 206 patients. In the primary study, most patients received two treatments, consisting of four injections each, for a total of eight injections. After six months, more than half of the patients injected with Solesta experienced a 50 percent reduction in the number of fecal incontinence episodes. However, one-third of patients who received no Solesta in the study also experienced a similar reduction. Overall, a greater proportion of patients treated with Solesta experienced improvements, indicating the gel provides benefit.  

Solesta is approved for use in patients ages 18 and up. It should not be used in patients who have active inflammatory bowel disease, immunodeficiency disorders, previous radiation treatment to the pelvic area, significant rectal prolapse, active infections, bleeding, tumors or malformations in the anorectal area, rectal distended veins, an existing implant in the anorectal region, or allergy to hyaluronic acid based products.

The most common side effects associated with Solesta include injection area pain and bleeding. Infection and inflammation of anal tissue are more serious risks, but are less common.  

Solesta is manufactured by Oceana Therapeutics Inc. of Edison, N.J.

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