Scleroderma Treatments - General

Author: Shelley Ensz. Scleroderma is highly variable. See Types of Scleroderma. Read Disclaimer

Unfortunately, there's no proven treatment and no cure for scleroderma yet. However, there are treatments for many of the symptoms plus experimental Treatments & Clinical Trials, and Research Registries for patients. Consult a scleroderma expert for the best care.

Scleroderma Experts (Worldwide List). Whenever possible, always consult a scleroderma expert for the best care for this demanding, complex, and unique disease. ISN.

Systemic Scleroderma Symptoms. It is common for systemic scleroderma to be treated by symptom management only. Look up individual symptoms and treatments through this extensive symptom list. Or, enter your term in the search bar which is at the top of this page. ISN.

Autoimmune Diseases
Heart (Cardiac)
Kidney (Renal)
Lung (Pulmonary)
Photos of Symptoms
Similar Skin Diseases
Sjogren's Syndrome
Skeletal (Bones, Muscles)
Skin and Hair

Pharmacotherapy of systemic sclerosis (SSc). Although there is no effective disease-modifying treatment for patients with SSc, quality of life, morbidity and mortality can be improved by using targeted therapy directed at affecting the consequences of damage to lungs, blood vessels, kidneys and the gastrointestinal tract. Innovative approaches to treating SSc are under intense investigation. AE Postlethwaite. Expert Opin Pharmacother, 2010 Apr;11(5):789-806. (Also see Medications)

Egr-1: a target for scleroderma therapy. Two separate research groups have discovered that the molecule EGR-1 (early growth response 1), which regulates gene expression, plays a central role in the development of fibrosis, a condition in which organ-supporting tissue becomes thick, hard, and rigid, hindering normal tissue and organ function. Northwestern University. 7th Space Interactive. 04/15/10.

Innovative therapies for systemic sclerosis. Although there is still no treatment that is unequivocally effective for scleroderma, there have been some promising developments over the past number of years with identification of novel candidate targets and innovative strategies, including targeted immunomodulatory therapies, tyrosine kinase inhibitors and agents that may promote vascular repair. Voon H. Ong. Current Opinion in Rheumatology. 25 February 2010.

Phosphodiesterase inhibitors (PDEis) in the management of autoimmune disease. The emerging trends make it necessary to exploit the full therapeutic potential of PDEis in various autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, scleroderma, profibrotic conditions and PAH. (PubMed) P. Shenoy. Autoimmun Rev. February 8 2010. Also see: (Rheumatoid Arthritis)

Cat by Lisa Volz, ISN ArtistA word of caution regarding single-center, retrospective studies. Patients frequently improve on placebo. Patients who are improving usually attribute it to their therapy and thus stay with it. Thus uncontrolled cohorts become enriched for "responders" while failures seek other paths. This dynamic underlies virtually all therapeutic "breakthroughs" which is why large scale double-blinded clinical trials are crucial for determining valid scleroderma treatments.

A retrospective randomly selected cohort study of D-penicillamine treatment in rapidly progressive diffuse cutaneous systemic sclerosis of recent onset. In a population of patients with diffuse cutaneous systemic sclerosis, with progressive disease of recent onset, D-penicillamine treatment at a median dose of 750 mg per day caused a statistically significant reduction in skin involvement and improvement of renal, cardiac and pulmonary involvement. (PubMed) Br J Dermatol. 2008 Feb 16. (Also see Clinical Trials, and Skin Fibrosis)

Scleroderma Clinical Trials and Open Enrollments Includes proven treatments, unproven, open enrollments, pending results, and research registries. ISN.

Scleroderma Related Medications MedicineNet

Immunotherapy of systemic sclerosis. This article highlights the current use of drugs targeting the immune system in scleroderma. Manno R, (PubMed) Immunotherapy, 2010 Nov;2(6):863-78. (Also see Mainstream Medications)

Frequent Monitoring Critical to Effectively Manage Scleroderma. Treatment can help control the symptoms. Drugs that suppress the body's immune response may help, along with medications to improve blood circulation (vasodilators). Also helpful are self-care techniques such as frequently moisturizing the skin, exercising regularly, not smoking and keeping the hands and feet warm. Nisha Manek, MD. Mayo Clinic, 2010.

Iloprost, Ventavist (Prostacyclin)

Severe vascular complications in patients affected by systemic sclerosis (SSc) cyclically treated with iloprost. With the limits of an observational study and in the absence of a control group, our experience suggests that prolonged cyclic iloprost therapy may limit the incidence/progression of severe digital and visceral SSc-vasculopathy. Paola Caramaschi, Rheumatology International, 30 March 2011.

Gene expression profiling in circulating endothelial cells from systemic sclerosis patients shows an altered control of apoptosis and angiogenesis that is modified by Iloprost infusion. We report here that circulating endothelial cells in patients with Systemic Sclerosis show an altered expression of genes involved in the control of apoptosis and angiogenesis. Elisa Tinazzi. Arthritis Research & Therapy 2010, 12:R131. (Also see Endothelial cells)

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