Arthritis Treatments - General

Author: Shelley Ensz. Scleroderma is highly variable. See Types of Scleroderma. Read Disclaimer
Overview of Medications
Medication Websites
About Medications
Medication Interactions
Alternative Medicine, Herbs, Vitamins and Scleroderma
Anesthesia Considerations for Systemic Sclerosis (SSc, or Scleroderma)
Endocannabinoid System
Immunostimulants (Imiquimod)
Mainstream Medications
Medicinal Metals: Gold, Platinum
FDA Warnings on Medications and Treatments
Scleroderma Treatments
Therapeutic Plasma Exchange.
Vaccinations and Scleroderma


There are a variety of medications used for scleroderma, arthritis, and autoimmune and rheumatic diseases. Which medication to use is dependent upon factors such as the patient, the symptoms, the doctors, and in some cases, the patient's insurance company (what is approved and what isn't).

This section covers specific medications generally used to treat these diseases as well as alternative treatments that have been proven to relieve some of the symptoms associated with scleroderma. It also covers some of the treatments that have proven to be ineffective for scleroderma and other rheumatic diseases. (Also see Scleroderma Clinical Treatments and Clinical Trials)

To learn about the medications and treatments for specific symptoms, such as gastrointestinal and pulmonary involvement, visit the page for that particular scleroderma symptom.

Giving Antibiotics to Infants is Strongly Related to Illness In Adulthood. Illness may appear in adulthood because of antibiotic resistance we develop when doctors prescribe us antibiotics as newborns and infants. Time Healthland, 05/14/2015.

Old medications and new targeted therapies in systemic sclerosis (SSc). This review focuses on old and new therapies in the management of SSc in clinical practice. PubMed, Rheumatology (Oxford), 2014 Jul 26.

Autoimmunity. Autoimmune disease is a disorder that occurs because of autoimmunity--a disease that is caused by an immune response to the body of the patient himself or herself. There are several ways to treat autoimmune diseases. ISN.

Medication Websites

Clinical Trials and Open Enrollments for Scleroderma ISN.

Free Medication Programs. ISN.

Specific Drug Information Prescription drug information for consumers and professionals.

About Medications

Video: Avoiding Medication Mistakes. Taking the wrong medication or the wrong dose can be an easy mistake to make. It can also be life threatening. In this Consumer Update video, FDA Drug Safety Expert, Cindi Fitzpatrick, R.N., provides tips on avoiding medication mistakes. FDA.

Medication Interactions

Does grapefruit affect my medicine? Eating grapefruit or drinking grapefruit juice can affect some medicines and in most cases, it increases the level of the medicine in your blood. NHS Choices, 05/12/2015. (Also see Food Guide)

The Effect of Intravenous (IV) Vitamin C on Cancer– and Chemotherapy–Related Fatigue and Quality of Life. Several recent studies have indicated that IV vitamin C alleviates a number of cancer- and chemotherapy-related symptoms, such as fatigue, insomnia, loss of appetite, nausea, and pain. Front Oncol. 2014; 4: 283. (Also see Alternative Treatments)

Alternative Medicine, Herbs, Vitamins and Scleroderma

Scleroderma and Alternative Medicine, Herbs, and Vitamins What natural, healthy things can you do to help improve scleroderma? ISN.

Natural Improvements
Reduce Stress
Diet and Systemic Scleroderma
Food Guide for Autoimmune Disease
Food Safety
Supplement Guide for Scleroderma
Know Your Symptoms
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)
Alternative Medicine Links

Anesthesia Considerations for Systemic Sclerosis (SSc, or Scleroderma)

Medical Equipment by Shelley EnszAnesthesia Considerations for Systemic Sclerosis (SSc, or Scleroderma). Care should be taken to select the best anesthetic or analgesia for systemic sclerosis (scleroderma) patients, with consideration of their entire medical history plus general risk factors for scleroderma. ISN.

Avoid Steroids, Prednisone
Manage Cardiac and Vascular Issues
Manage Gastrointestinal Issues
Case Studies


Antibiotic interaction may raise heart death risk. Doctors have known for years that the antibiotic erythromycin can, in rare cases, spark an abnormal and sometimes fatal heartbeat. However, combining it with several common drugs--Cardizen, Diltiazem, Tiazac, Dilacor, verapamil, Calan, Isoptin --may dramatically worsen that risk. Expired article from The New Zealand Herald. [2004] (Also see Hypertension)

In a Dragon’s Blood, Scientists Discover a Potential Antibiotic. Biochemists may have discovered a type of antibiotic that sounds like something out of a fairy tale: it is based on dragon blood. New York Times, 04/17/2017.

Little evidence that antibiotics help open surgical wounds heal. There are no high–quality trials assessing whether using antibiotics or antiseptics on open surgical wounds speeds healing by slowing the growth of dangerous microorganisms, according to a new Cochrane review. Reuters Health, 10/07/2016.

Antibiotics Are Still Overused in Hospitals. The most comprehensive study yet shows that antibiotic use hasn’t changed in hospitals, despite recent warnings that they drugs are overprescribed. Time Healthland, 09/19/2016.

Superbug review says more vaccines needed to reduce antibiotic use. More use of vaccines would reduce the need to use antibiotics and help fight the rise of drug–resistant superbug infections, according to a British government–commissioned review of the threat. Reuters Health, 02/11/2016. (Also see Vaccinations)

Newly Discovered Bacteria Can Resist All Antibiotics. A mutation discovered in people and livestock in China makes bacteria resistant to last-resort drugs. Time Healthland, 11/19/2015.

Ineffective Treatments: Minocycline and Scleroderma ISN.

Ineffective Treatments: D-Penicillamine and Scleroderma ISN.

Clinical Trials and Open Enrollments for Scleroderma ISN.

Endocannabinoid System

ECS KaleidoscopeEndocannabinoid System The Endocannabinoid System (ECS) is the name for a series of endogenous cell receptors that respond to certain kinds of agonists, known as Cannabinoid Receptor 1 (CB1), which are abundant in the central nervous system and Cannabinoid Receptor 2 (CB2), which are more often found on immune cells, in the gastrointestinal tract, and in the peripheral nervous system. ISN.

Cannabidiol (CBD)
Marijuana (Cannabis sativa)
Autoimmune Diseases


The value of glucocorticoid co-therapy in different rheumatic diseases--positive and adverse effects. There is an ongoing quest for new drugs with glucocorticoid actions without the potential to cause harmful effects, such as selective glucocorticoid receptor agonists. PubMed, Arthritis Res Ther, 2014 Nov 13;16 Suppl 2:S2.

Immunostimulants (Imiquimod)

Imiquimod: Potential risk of an immunostimulant. This case highlights the potential risk of using imiquimod cream (an immunostimulant) in a patient who has a condition requiring immunosuppression, such as autoimmune disease or an organ transplant. PubMed, Australas J Dermatol.

Mainstream Medications

Mainstream Medications are the pharmaceuticals that are normally prescribed by rheumatologists for the treatment of scleroderma and other rheumatic diseases. ISN.

FDA Warnings and Recalls
Glucocorticoid, Steroids

Medicinal Metals: Gold, Platinum

Gold and some other metals have been proven to suppress the inflammatory process. DMARDs such as Auranofin and Gold sodium thiomalate are forms of gold used to treat rheumatic diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis. ISN.

FDA Warnings on Medications and Treatments

FDA warnings and alerts have been issued for some of the medications and treatments used for scleroderma and other rheumatic disease. ISN.

Scleroderma Treatments

Scleroderma Treatments and Clinical Trials. There have been significant advances in scleroderma treatment research. This research has led to treatments that not only improve the symptoms, but the overall quality of life. ISN.

Symptoms and Treatments
Scleroderma Experts
Scleroderma Research
Open Enrollments
Completed: Positive
Completed: Awaiting
Completed: Inconclusive
Completed: Negative

Therapeutic Plasma Exchange.

Eagle MountainsTherapeutic Plasma Exchange. Therapeutic plasma exchange (TPE) is a treatment that removes plasma from your blood, which is then replaced with a substitute. Plasma is the liquid portion of blood which helps carry blood cells and other substances throughout your body. Plasma exchange (plasmapheresis) is a way of separating plasma from blood cells. ISN

TPE for Scleroderma
TPE for Other Diseases

Vaccinations and Scleroderma

Vaccinations such as flu shots and pneumonia shots are recommended for patients with scleroderma and other autoimmune diseases. However, before receiving a vaccination of any kind, patients should consult their physicians.

Go to Scleroderma Treatments

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