How is pediatric scleroderma treated?
There is no cure for scleroderma, but with proper diagnosis, it can be treated and controlled.
Treatment is specialized for each child, based on his or her overall health, medical history, type of scleroderma, severity, and presence of other symptoms.
For systemic sclerosis, a team of specialists, including various physicians (dependent on involvement of internal organs), nurses, physical and occupational therapists, psychologists and other health care professionals, provide comprehensive care for your child in a compassionate setting.
The team focuses on medically controlling the disease while decreasing the effects of scleroderma on your child’s physical growth and emotional development. The location of the skin rash, and how deep it is, will impact how the child feels the skin rash will affect his or her appearance (cosmetic impact).
Scleroderma management may include family counseling regarding cosmetic, financial, emotional, social or disability issues.
Treatments include medications, skin protection, therapy and rarely, surgery.
The goal of medication is to control disease activity. Several different medications to treat the effects of scleroderma are currently being investigated.
Steroids, such as cortisone or prednisone, may be used to decrease inflammation in muscles, joints or rarely in the skin itself. Steroids can also be helpful in treating fatigue, or occasionally to treat the early stages of internal organ inflammation. Generally, steroids do not work in the later stages of systemic sclerosis.
Methotrexate is often used to treat scleroderma, especially the linear type of scleroderma.
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen and naproxen are sometimes used for children who have arthritis to decrease joint inflammation.
Medications that dilate blood vessels and improve blood flow are often used to treat Raynaud’s phenomena.