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Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center (GARD)

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* Not a rare disease
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Your Question

How might scleroderma be treated?

Our Answer

We have identified the following information that we hope you find helpful. If you still have questions, please contact us.

What is scleroderma?

Scleroderma is a group of widespread connective tissue diseases that involve changes in the skin, blood vessels, muscles, and internal organs.[1] There are two main types. Localized scleroderma affects only the skin. Systemic scleroderma affects the blood vessels and internal organs, as well as the skin.[2] Although the cause of scleroderma is unknown, it is believed to be related to an overproduction and accumulation of collagen which results when the immune system turns against the body (autoimmune reaction).[1][3] There is no cure, but various treatments can relieve symptoms.[2]
Last updated: 10/11/2010

How might scleroderma be treated?

Currently, there is no treatment for the disease process of scleroderma. Thus, treatment and management focus on relieving symptoms and limiting damage. Treatment depends on the particular problems each individual experiences.[2]

The following medications may be used to treat scleroderma:[1]

Other treatments for specific symptoms may include:[1]

  • Drugs for heartburn or swallowing problems
  • Blood pressure medications (particularly ACE inhibitors) for high blood pressure or kidney problems
  • Light treatments for skin thickening
  • Medicines to improve breathing (See: Pulmonary hypertension)
  • Medications to treat Raynaud's phenomenon

More detailed information regarding the treatment of scleroderma can be accessed through eMedicine.

Last updated: 10/11/2010