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There is no cure for SS. In many cases, symptoms stabilise and begin to ease after several years. Skin may soften but remain discoloured and may become fragile. Tissue and organ damage that has accumulated is often permanent.

Treatment of SS is focused on managing symptoms, minimising damage to organs and tissues, and maintaining mobility in affected joints. Treatments may include:

For Raynaud's phenomenon:

  • Keeping hands and feet warm and avoiding temperature extremes
  • Avoiding smoking
  • In some cases, medications are used to help improve blood flow.

For Oesophageal dysfunction:

  • Small meals
  • Avoiding spicy foods
  • Proton pump inhibitors, antacids, H2-blockers and other medications

Other treatments may include:

  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and other pain relievers
  • Topical skin treatments for open sores and for itching
  • Medications for hypertension and pulmonary hypertension
  • Supplemental oxygen
  • Corticosteroids and other immune suppressants
  • ACE inhibitors for acute kidney dysfunction
  • Physical and occupational therapy to maintain muscle strength and range of motion
  • Dental treatments
  • Autologous (a patient's own) Bone Marrow Transplant: This relatively new procedure is only available in certain centres for some patients with progressive severe disease.

Sometimes surgery is necessary to address tissue damage, joint contractures, or calcium deposits.

Last Review Date: January 13, 2020