The Current Treatment of Scleroderma
The treatment of scleroderma is determined by the stage of the disease, associated organ involvement or the presence of features overlapping those of other connective tissue disease.
Raynaud’s phenomenon is responsive to vasoactive medication, but recently heat and plasma exchange have been shown to be more effective, reducing the need for systemic medication.
In stages II and III of the disease, administration of non-toxic penicillamine in low doses for 2 to 4 years is the preferred treatment. Plasma exchange may offer some hope in the early stages. The treatment of the renal crisis of scleroderma with angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors has reduced mortality from this complication. These drugs are currently the preferred treatment for the hypertension of renal scleroderma.
The symptomatic treatment of the pulmonary, gastrointestinal, and soft tissue complications of scleroderma is also discussed.