The treatment of scleroderma

F. M. Wigley, C. L. Boling

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


There is currently no perfect treatment for scleroderma. Most success is focused on organ-specific therapy. The current theory of pathogenesis suggests that potential targets of therapy are the autoimmune process, tissue fibrosis, inflammation and/or scleroderma vascular disease. This year, a controlled trial suggested that D-penicillamine was not effective in scleroderma. Relaxin, an insulin-like protein, shows promise for scleroderma skin disease when given by continuous subcutaneous infusion. Anti-cytokine therapy is being tested in animal models of fibrosis, but few clinical data are available. Intravenous or inhaled prostaglandins seem to improve pulmonary hypertension, a leading cause of mortality in scleroderma. Cyclophosphamide appears to arrest active alveolitis and to stabilize declining lung function. Aggressive therapy for severe disease with autologous bone marrow transplant is also under study. This article reviews the rationale for new therapy and several reported clinical trials.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)276-292
Number of pages17
JournalCurrent Opinion in Anti-inflammatory and Immunomodulatory Investigational Drugs
Issue number4
StatePublished - Sep 18 2000


  • Antioxidants
  • Cytokines
  • Fibrosis
  • Immune system
  • Inflammation
  • Prostaglandins
  • Raynaud's
  • Scleroderma
  • Vascular diseases

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology
  • Pharmacology


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