[Effects of long-term iloprost therapy on Raynaud's phenomenon in progressive systemic sclerosis].Minerva Med. 1992 Nov; 83(11):739-44.MM
One of the most appealing current pathogenetic concepts is that progressive systemic sclerosis (PSS) is a reaction to repeated episodes of endothelial cell injury. Injury of small arteries and capillary endothelium initiates reactions which involve increased permeability of the vessels, platelet adherence, myointimal cell proliferation, luminal narrowing and heightened sensitivity of the vessel wall. Clinical evidence of the vessel damage is Raynaud's phenomenon, involving both skin and viscera. The Authors evaluated the effects of iloprost on Raynaud's phenomenon in patients with PSS. This drug provides prolonged vasodilation, reduces platelet aggregation and promotes endothelial lining function repair. This last pattern is of primary importance because it may stop the vicious circle: endothelial injury-platelet hyperaggregation-microangiospasm. Five females were recruited, aged 41-66 years, suffering from well-documented (ARA criteria) PSS, associated with typical Raynaud's phenomenon. The trial provided for intravenous infusion of iloprost at a rate of 1-2 ng/kg/min. First treatment consisted of six-hour infusions on six successive days. After this first treatment, weekly infusions during the winter months were carried on. Drug effectiveness was considered through subjective and objective parameters. All patients showed prominent reduction of number, duration and severity of attacks of Raynaud's phenomenon, improvement of prehensile strength, healing of finger ulcerations and improvement or normalization of digital photoplethysmography. So far, the treatment has been prolonged for years in our patients and still goes on. The side effects of iloprost (headache, flushing, nausea) have been very poor. Therefore, iloprost proved to be a valid drug in the management of Raynaud's phenomenon in patients with PSS, but the inconvenience of intravenous administration may limit its routine use.