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Common Name(s): Aortic glycosaminoglycan, GAG, Glycosaminoglycan, Mesoglycan, Mesoglycan sodium, Prisma

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Dec 28, 2021.

Clinical Overview


Mesoglycan is approved in many European countries for the treatment of blood vessel homeostasis diseases. Mesoglycan has demonstrated efficacy in various conditions with vascular etiologies and/or manifestations, including diabetic retinopathy, ischemic stroke, deep vein thrombosis (DVT), venous ulcers, telangiectasias, Raynaud phenomenon, cerebrospinal-venous insufficiency, peripheral arterial disease, and mechanical edema caused by traumatic disease. Additionally, long-term administration of mesoglycan has been shown to improve insulin sensitivity in patients with metabolic syndrome.


Oral: The usual dose of mesoglycan is 100 mg daily (given either once daily or in 2 divided doses of 50 mg), often as add-on therapy, for conditions with vascular etiologies and/or manifestations. Duration of therapy has ranged from 2 weeks to 3 years.

In one study, mesoglycan 60 mg/day orally was administered for 20 days in patients with peripheral obstructive arterial disease.

Intramuscular: Initial dosing with intramuscular (IM) mesoglycan (30 to 60 mg daily for up to 3 weeks; or a single dose of 60 mg) with or without continuation of an oral dosage of 100 mg/day for up to 18 months has been used in clinical trials in patients with chronic venous ulcers, ischemic stroke, or metabolic syndrome.


Contraindications have not been identified.


Avoid use. Information regarding safety and efficacy in pregnancy and lactation is lacking.


Mesoglycan may enhance the anticoagulant effect of anticoagulants.

Adverse Reactions

Mesoglycan is well tolerated.


No data.


Mesoglycan is a sulfated polysaccharide extract usually obtained from porcine intestinal mucosa but sometimes from calf/beef aorta (ie, aortic glycosaminoglycan). It is composed of heparin sulfate (typically 52%), dermatan sulfate (35%), electrophoretically slow moving heparin (8%), and chondroitin sulfate (5%).Lee 2016, Tufano 2010, Varatharajan 2016 Vascular glycosaminoglycans are essential components of the endothelium and vessel wall.Tufano 2010


Aortic glycosaminoglycans and mucopolysaccharides (ie, mesoglycan) are authorized drugs in many European countries and, historically, have been used to treat a variety of diseases of blood vessel homeostasis.Lee 2016 Mesoglycan, a glycosaminoglycan compound, is available as a parenteral and oral formulation.Valvano 2015 Its mechanism of action as an antithrombotic and profibrinolytic is being studied.Andreozzi 2007, Lee 2016, Ryu 2011


Mesoglycan is a polysaccharide complex rich in sulfur radicals. It is reported to have several favorable actions on the fibrinolytic system and macrorheologic and microrheologic parameters, to restore the electronegativity of the vascular endothelium,Viliani 2009 to reduce capillary permeability, and to inhibit neutrophil adhesion and activation.Varatharajan 2016 Like the natural glycosaminoglycan heparin, heparan sulfate proteoglycan, one of the components of mesoglycan, has been reported to inhibit vascular smooth muscle cells in vitro, suggesting benefit in proliferative disorders such as atherosclerosis and cancer.Lee 2016 Heparin and dermatan sulfate are thrombin inhibitors that act through complementary pathways (ie, antithrombin and heparin cofactor II, respectively). Activated factor X is also inhibited by heparan sulfate.Tufano 2010

Endothelium-mediated activities include platelet adhesion, lipoprotein lipase stimulation, inhibition of smooth muscle cell proliferation, activation of antithrombin III and heparinic cofactor II, and tissue plasminogen activator stimulation.Andreozzi 2007

Uses and Pharmacology

Mesoglycan is an antithrombotic and profibrinolytic. Its components, heparin and dermatan sulfate, are thrombin inhibitors that act through complementary pathways. Inhibition of neutrophil adhesion and activation, decreased capillary permeability, and enhanced systemic fibrinolysis have been demonstrated in a clinical trial (2001).(Arosio 2001) More recent studies reveal that mesoglycan reduces proliferation of vascular smooth muscle cells, a critical component of atherosclerosis and tumor development, through nonapoptotic processes. In vitro studies support G0/G1 cell cycle growth suppression via activation of adenosine monophosphate–activated protein kinase (AMPK) that mediates cell cycle regulation and inhibits protein synthesis. Mesoglycan has been shown to induce the expression of the protein p53 (a key regulator of the cell cycle) and p21 (a downstream target of p53); cell cycle arrest appears to be via AMPK-dependent phosphorylation of p53 in human vascular smooth muscle cells. Additionally, mesoglycan may inhibit mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) signaling via AMPK activation, which could be responsible for the antiproliferative effect of mesoglycan in vascular smooth muscle cells.(Andreozzi 2007, Lee 2016) Mesoglycan has also been shown to inhibit production of endothelial microparticles (EMPs) in vitro under uremic conditions. EMPs tend to reflect cellular injury, are elevated in many vascular diseases, and are thought to play a direct role in thrombogenesis.(Ryu 2011)

Diabetes/Metabolic syndrome

Clinical data

An Italian 6-month, placebo-controlled, observational study in 68 adult patients with diabetic retinopathy investigated the effects of mesoglycan on the pathology of this microcirculatory disorder. The average age of participants was approximately 60 years, and approximately half (51%) had disease duration of more than 10 years. Overall, diabetic retinopathy was confirmed in 85% (115) of eyes and contrast sensitivity was altered in 75%. Results data supported a benefit of controlled-release mesoglycan 100 mg/day for 6 months compared with placebo. Compared with baseline, the number of eyes with impaired visual acuity and impaired visual field decreased with mesoglycan from 58 to 14 and from 52 to 6, respectively. The placebo group experienced either no improvement or worsening. The difference between the groups was significant for both visual acuity (P=0.0012) and visual field (P=0.0001) measurements. Contrast sensitivity, originally impaired in 79% (54) of eyes in the placebo group and 43% (29) in the treatment group, did not improve with placebo but persisted in only 10% (7) of eyes treated with mesoglycan at study end. Overall, a significant reduction from baseline in microhemorrhages (70% to 27%), microaneurysms (67% to 33%), and hard exudates (80% to 0%) was documented. No adverse effects were reported.(Pacella 2012)

A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial investigated the acute and chronic effects of mesoglycan on endothelial function and arterial elastic properties, as well as on insulin sensitivity in 30 patients with metabolic syndrome. Significant improvements in endothelial function (as measured by flow-mediated dilation [FMD]) and arterial elasticity (ie, improved distensibility, compliance, stiffness) were observed after administration of a single dose of mesoglycan 60 mg intramuscularly (IM), followed by long-term oral administration of 50 mg twice daily for 3 months compared with baseline and placebo. Mesoglycan-treated patients exhibited near normalization of depressed endothelial function. Additionally, insulin sensitivity (ie, fasting glucose, insulin and homeostatic assessment model algorithm [HOMA] index) improved with long-term mesoglycan treatment. The significant predictive factor of vascular improvement was the HOMA index (P=0.02). Mild dyspepsia was reported by 4 patients taking mesoglycan and 2 taking placebo.(Valvano 2015)

Ischemic stroke

Clinical data

Data from a 2010 review of studies investigating mesoglycan for vascular diseases suggest a role for mesoglycan in treatment of arterial disease (ie, atherosclerotic, hypertensive, diabetic arterial disease), primarily in the initial stages of disease when reduced arterial wall elasticity is one of the functional impairments. Four small studies (3 prospective, 1 randomized controlled published between 1988 and 2002), ranging in size from 20 to 46 patients and investigating mesoglycan in patients with a recent history of ischemic stroke or transient ischemic attack (TIA) and increased plasma fibrinogen levels (a risk factor for ischemic stroke and myocardial infarction) were identified. In 2 of the prospective studies and the 1 randomized controlled trial, mesoglycan was administered at 50 mg orally twice daily for 2 months to more than 3 months; in the other prospective study, mesoglycan was administered at 30 mg IM twice daily for 15 days. Mesoglycan was effective in reducing plasma fibrinogen levels without interfering with other coagulative parameters. In one of the studies that also evaluated the effects of mesoglycan in chronic cerebrovascular disease, decreases in neurologic deficits were observed. Additionally, in a large multicenter clinical trial (N=1,398), mesoglycan (30 mg twice daily IM for 2 weeks, then 100 mg daily orally; median therapy duration, 18 months) was as effective as aspirin (300 mg daily) in preventing vascular events after cerebral ischemic events in patients with a history of atherothrombotic stroke, TIA, reversible ischemic neurological deficit, or minor stroke; more adverse effects were reported in the aspirin group than the mesoglycan group.(Tufano 2010) A small 2002 study (N=46) compared mesoglycan 50 mg twice daily to ticlopidine 250 mg twice daily in patients with previous ischemic stroke and found similar, though slightly less consistent, reductions in plasma fibrinogen levels in both treatment groups.(Orefice 2002)

Peripheral arterial disease

Clinical data

The effects of 2 months of mesoglycan as add-on therapy were investigated in 540 adults (mean age, 70.9 years) with lower-extremity peripheral arterial disease in a prospective, nonrandomized, noncontrolled, open-label study. Mesoglycan 50 mg twice daily was administered for two 60-day treatment cycles separated by a 60-day washout period. Most patients had more than one risk factor; the prevalence of hypertension and smoking was high, as was that of dyslipidemia, diabetes, and organ insufficiency or failure. Prior medication regimens were not changed during the study. After 6 months (4 months total of mesoglycan therapy), mean brachial artery FMD increased significantly by 15.7% (P<0.001). FMD increased continuously during the first mesoglycan cycle, stabilized during the washout period, and increased again in the majority of patients (84%) during the second treatment cycle. Baseline data were different according to risk factor group (ie, hypertension, dyslipidemia, diabetes, smoker). FMD changes were higher for the youngest patients and for females, and were lowest for hypertensive patients and smokers. Intimal media thickness and walking distance also improved significantly, by 0.05 mm and approximately 47 m, respectively (P<0.001 each). Mesoglycan treatment resulted in an improvement in patient condition by 71.6% according to investigator assessment and by 64.5% according to patient assessment. Mesoglycan was well tolerated.(Gossetti 2015) In a 2010 review of studies suggesting a role for mesoglycan in treatment of arterial disease, improvements in cell wall responsiveness, signs and symptoms, and walking capacity were noted in patients with peripheral obstructive arterial disease in 2 small prospective studies (N=10 and N=36) published in 1987 and 1997, respectively, and one larger double-blind, randomized controlled trial (N=242) from 2001. Doses ranged from 60 to 100 mg daily for 20 days to up to 1 year.(Tufano 2010)

Postoperative pain

Clinical data

The use of mesoglycan to significantly reduce postoperative pain after hemorrhoidectomy has been reported by more than 1 group. To confirm these results, a retrospective multicenter study collected data on 398 patients who underwent open excisional diathermy hemorrhoidectomy and received standard post-operative therapy with or without mesoglycan. Reductions in postoperative pain at all time points (ie, 1, 3 and 6 weeks postop) and for all pain assessments (ie, at rest, after defecation, after anorectal digital exam) were significantly improved in patients who received mesoglycan compared to those who did not (P<0.0001 for all but one, which was P=0.003). This led to a more rapid recovery to normal activities and a significantly better mental component score (P<0.05) in the mesoglycan group. No significant differences were found between groups in surgical wound healing, physical component score, or post-operative bleeding.(Gallo 2020)

Raynaud phenomenon

Clinical data

In an observational study (case series), adult patients with primary or secondary refractory Raynaud phenomenon (N=25) received mesoglycan 50 mg as add-on therapy twice daily for 12 months. Treatments used prior to add-on therapy and allowed during the study included calcium channel blockers, prostanoids, angiotensin receptor blockers, angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors, methylprednisolone, methotrexate, cyclosporine, and simvastatin. At the 12-month follow up, a significant and consistent improvement in nailfold video capillaroscopy was documented in 83% of patients and more than half of the total group (P<0.0001). Prevalence of daily attacks decreased from 80% at baseline to 28% at 6 months and 13% at 12 months of mesoglycan therapy. Additionally, a significant decrease was observed in average monthly frequency of attacks compared with baseline, with a 41% decrease at 6 months and 74% decrease at 12 months (P<0.0001). Of the 24 patients who completed 1 year of mesoglycan add-on therapy, 2 became attack free.(Di Biase 2013)


Clinical data

A retrospective observational study in women assessed the effects of a multitherapy protocol that included mesoglycan on the anatomopathologic and pathophysiologic aspects of telangiectases. The study used the following treatment regimen: Initially, reflux was eliminated from type A telangiectasias associated with saphenous vein reflux and followed after 3 weeks by sclerotherapy with internal and external compression of type B telangiectasias; this was followed after 3 months by dermal stimulation with intradermal injections of mesoglycan (Prisma) to stimulate collagen around type C telangiectasias. Patients continued treatment with oral mesoglycan 100 mg/day for 3 weeks. A statistically significant difference was shown for the multitherapy approach for both clinical examination (P=0.0002) and photographic analysis (P<0.0001).(Ferrara 2013)

Venous insufficiency

Cerebrospinal venous insufficiency

Clinical data

Mesoglycan 100 mg/day has been used safely as add-on therapy to standard immunomodulatory or immunosuppressive therapies for up to 12 months in patients with multiple sclerosis undergoing endovascular treatment for cerebrospinal venous insufficiency to help normalize coagulation activation and endothelial dysfunction. In a prospective observational study (N=110), more than half of patients (55%) experienced a favorable outcome within 1 month after endovascular treatment, 25% regressed in the following 3 months, and 25% did not experience benefit. No analysis of the potential effect of mesoglycan was conducted.(Napolitano 2014)

Chronic venous insufficiency

Clinical data

The effect of add-on mesoglycan to standard care on cutaneous blood flow was investigated in 75 women with chronic venous disorders. Women were divided into 4 groups based on disease severity (CEAP classification [C1, C2, C3, or C4]); the treatment group received mesoglycan 50 mg twice daily for 90 days plus standard care (ie, exercise, leg elevation, weight loss, blood pressure control, compression stockings), while the control group received only standard care. After 90 days of treatment, improvement in mean peak flow, measured by laser Doppler flowmetry, was observed in all 37 women receiving mesoglycan (about 14% to 20% increase from baseline). The control group showed no change. Patients with CEAP C1 classification (mild disease) experienced a dilation of skin microvasculature increase of +18.2 perfusion units compared with a decrease of −3.6 perfusion units in CEAP C1 controls (P=0.027). Significant improvement was also seen by clustering CEAP C1 and C2 groups, with a trend towards benefit in CEAP C3 and C4 groups.(Maresca 2015)

A large (N=1,066) study of the impact of mesoglycan treatment on quality of life in patients with chronic venous disease noted improvements in subjective quality-of-life scores and objective measures such as edema.(Allegra 2014)

Deep vein thrombosis

Clinical data

A retrospective analysis evaluated the effects of mesoglycan therapy in 265 cases (from 1988 to 1997) of previous DVT and chronic venous insufficiency. After 3 or 6 months of anticoagulant therapy, mesoglycan 100 mg/day was administered with compression stockings for 3 years to patients with primary (n=56) or recurrent (n=27) DVT. The prevalence of postthrombotic syndrome during the treatment period was significantly lower compared to the previous thrombotic episode (P<0.0004). Additionally, mesoglycan was effective in patients with chronic venous insufficiency; all chronic venous dysfunction scores (ie, disability, pain, edema) were improved during the 3-year follow-up period.(Andreozzi 2007)

Mechanical edema

Clinical data

The effectiveness of mesoglycan in managing mechanical edema was investigated in a prospective, randomized, open-label study conducted in 44 adult patients with unilateral lower-limb edema caused by traumatic disease of the lower limb, fracture, total hip or knee replacement, immobilization, or plantar weight disorders. Compared with patients receiving physiotherapy alone, self-reported pain and lymphedema symptoms were significantly improved with mesoglycan 50 mg twice daily plus physiotherapy at the 1-month follow-up (P<0.0001). Objective measurements of the malleolus and calf circumferences also significantly decreased compared with physiotherapy alone (mean reductions of 3.1 cm vs 1 cm and 1.6 cm vs 0.3 cm, respectively [P<0.0001 each]). However, tibia-tarsal movement parameters did not change significantly. Results did not change when evaluated in the intention-to-treat (ITT) population. Mesoglycan was well tolerated, with only one adverse event reported but not confirmed to be related to therapy.(Viliani 2009)

Venous ulcers

Clinical data

In a double-blind, multicenter Italian study (N=183), ambulatory adult patients with a history and current clinical diagnosis of chronic venous insufficiency, plus the presence of a leg ulcer (maximum diameter, 4 to 20 cm2), were randomized to receive mesoglycan or placebo. Mesoglycan was initiated at 30 mg IM once daily for 3 weeks and followed by 50 mg orally twice daily until complete target ulcer healing or the final scheduled visit (24 weeks ± 1 week). All patients received compression therapy and topical wound care (ie, saline cleansing, local antiseptics). By study end, the estimated rate of healing was significantly better for mesoglycan (97%) versus placebo (82%) (P<0.05); differences were still significant after adjusting for baseline ulcer area. The corresponding relative risk for healing was 1.48 (95% confidence interval [CI], 1.05 to 2.09) at study end and was 1.43 (95% CI, 1.01 to 2.04) after baseline adjustment. The estimated time to heal 75% of patients was 90 days with mesoglycan versus 136 days with placebo. Complete healing of a concomitant ulcer was achieved in 7 of 10 mesoglycan-treated patients and 1 of 5 patients receiving placebo.(Arosio 2001) Systematic reviews (2011 and 2016) of available evidence regarding clinical benefit of adjunctive treatments for chronic venous ulcers identified one study that investigated systemic mesoglycan. The evidence was considered to be of moderate quality.(Nelson 2011, Varatharajan 2016) Data from a randomized controlled trial (N=40) evaluating the effects of topically applied mesoglycan compared with a plant-based extract on healing rates of chronic venous ulcers were of low quality and inconclusive.(Nelson 2011)

Other uses

Mesoglycan has been evaluated in small studies for treatment of cutaneous necrotizing venulitis, chronic vascular encephalopathy, and cerebrovascular ischemia, with some beneficial effects noted.(Lotti 1993, Mansi 1988, Orlandi 1991, Vecchio 1993)

In an Italian multicenter retrospective observational uncontrolled study, data collected from 682 patients suffering from tinnitus, instability, lightheadedness, and/or peripheral vertigo who also presented with cardiovascular risk factors reported that oral administration of mesoglycan led to significant improvement in symptoms over 90 days. Similar results were seen between the patient and physician assessments.(Neri 2018)


The usual dose of mesoglycan is 100 mg daily (given either once daily or in 2 divided doses of 50 mg), often as add-on therapy, for conditions with vascular etiologies and/or manifestations (eg, chronic venous insufficiency, cerebrospinal venous insufficiency, diabetic retinopathy, deep vein thrombosis, ischemic stroke, mechanical edema caused by traumatic injury, peripheral arterial disease of the lower extremity, Raynaud phenomenon, metabolic syndrome, telangiectasias). Duration of therapy has ranged from 2 weeks to 3 years.(Andreozzi 2007, Di Biase 2013, Ferrara 2013, Gossetti 2015, Maresca 2015, Napolitano 2014, Pacella 2012, Tufano 2010, Valvano 2015, Viliani 2009)

In one study, mesoglycan 60 mg/day orally was administered for 20 days in patients with peripheral obstructive arterial disease.(Tufano 2010)

Pregnancy / Lactation

Information regarding safety and efficacy in pregnancy and lactation is lacking.


A review of mesoglycan studied in vascular diseases reported that activated partial thromboplastin time values increased 2 times that of control in 81% (n=29) of patients during intravenous administration of mesoglycan; values returned to normal at the end of administration.(Tufano 2010)

Anticoagulants: Mesoglycan may enhance the anticoagulant effect of anticoagulants. Monitor therapy.(Raso 1997, Vecchio 1993, Vittoria 1988)

Adverse Reactions

Mesoglycan has been well tolerated in studies; 2 minor cases of headache and diarrhea have been reported.Tufano 2010

An erythematous irregular bald patch of alopecia was observed a few days after a mesotherapy session with a formulation that contained mesoglycan (Prisma). At 3 months, a small area of residual cicatricial alopecia persisted. Hair loss has been previously associated with heparin derivatives.Duque-Estrada 2009


No data.



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Allegra C, Antignani PL. Quality of live as measured by the CIVQ 20. Questionnaire following oral mesoglycan treatment of patients with chronic venous disease. Int Angiol. 2014;33(5):407-418.24566500
Andreozzi GM. Effectiveness of mesoglycan in patients with previous deep venous thrombosis and chronic venous insufficiency. Minerva Cardioangiol. 2007;55(6):741-753.18091643
Arosio E, Ferrari G, Santoro L, Gianese F, Coccheri S; Mesoglycan Venous Insufficiency Group. A placebo-controlled, double-blind study of mesoglycan in the treatment of chronic venous ulcers. Eur J Vasc Endovasc Surg. 2001;22(4):365-372.11563899
Di Biase A. Mesoglycan treatment in Raynaud phenomenon: a case series. Minerva Cardioangiol. 2013;61(3):323-331.23681135
Duque-Estrada B, Vincenzi C, Misciali C, Tosti A. Alopecia secondary to mesotherapy. J Am Acad Dermatol. 2009;61(4):707-709.19577328
Ferrara F, Ferrara G. Treating telangiectasias: my method. Minerva Cardioangiol. 2013;61(2):221-227.23492605
Gallo G, Di Saverio S, Clerico G, et al. Mesoglycan for pain control after open excisional HAEMOrrhoidectomy (MeHAEMO): an observational multicentre study on behalf of the Italian Society of Colorectal Surgery (SICCR) [published correction appears in BMC Surg. 2020 Nov 11;20(1):277]. BMC Surg. 2020;20(1):251.33092570
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