Scleroderma

Scleroderma has no known cure. Treatment options include:

  • Medications to treat the symptoms. Your doctor may recommend a number of drugs to make it easier for you to live with scleroderma by treating its symptoms. A doctor may also suggest treatments to deal with complications of scleroderma that may affect various organs.
  • Localized treatment with therapies, such as moisturizers or corticosteroid creams, that are applied to the skin. Corticosteroids block the body's ability to make substances that can cause inflammation.
  • Systemic drugs to try to halt the progress of the disease. These may include drugs that improve blood flow, promote esophagus and bowel function, preserve kidney function and control high blood pressure.
  • Treatments for Raynaud's phenomenon to dilate blood vessels and promote circulation, including calcium channel blockers, alpha blockers, angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors or angiotensinII receptor blockers. Aspirin may be prescribed to reduce the blood's clotting action and keep blood vessels open. Creams containing nitroglycerin may also be used to help promote circulation.
  • Certain complications of scleroderma may require aggressive and potentially life-saving treatment. Renal crisis (rapidly progressing kidney failure) is treated with powerful intravenous anti-hypertensive agents, and pulmonary hypertension (rapid rise in pressure in the heart) is treated with anti-coagulation and drugs that dilate the walls of the arteries in the lungs.
  • The doctor may prescribe anti-inflammatory drugs, such as aspirin, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) or low-dose corticosteroids.