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[Systemic sclerosis]

Author(s): Tamborrini G, Distler M, Distler O

Affiliation(s): Rheumaklinik, Universitatsspital Zurich, Zurich, Schweiz.

Publication date & source: 2008-05, Med Monatsschr Pharm., 31(5):162-70

Publication type: English Abstract; Review

Systemic sclerosis (SSc) is a severe fibrotic multiorgan connective tissue disease. Vascular abnormalities such as fingertip ulcers and Raynaud's syndrome as well as involvement of organs including the lungs, heart, kidney and the gastrointestinal tract are prominent features of the disease. There are currently no disease modifying drugs available that can modify the course of the disease. In this review we will discuss medications that have been found to be effective in improving specific organ involvement due to SSc. For the treatment of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), proton pump inhibitors are effective agents. In the setting of clinically significant gastrointestinal dysmotility, metoclopramide, erythromycin and octreotide may be beneficial. Small bowel bacterial overgrowth should be treated with oral antibiotics. Angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors are the first-line agents for acute renal crisis. A variety of treatment options are available for Raynaud's phenomenon and include calcium channel blockers, iloprost (i. v.), losartan, fluoxetine and sildenafil. Fingertip ulcers can be prevented by using the endothelin receptor antagonist bosentan. The therapeutic options for treatment of pulmonary hypertension associated with SSc include bosentan, sildenafil and various prostacyclin analogs (eg, epoprostenol, treprostinil, iloprost). Sitaxentan, ambrisentan and new phosphodiesterase-5 inhibitors could be new options for therapy as well. Therapeutic options for interstitial lung fibrosis include cyclophosphamide, however, clinical effects are mild to moderate. Methotrexate has been used to treat skin fibrosis and can be beneficial when arthritis is present.

Page last updated: 2008-08-10

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