Table of Contents
Treatment for Raynaud's Phenomenon
The following are some lifestyle tips for managing Raynaud's phenomenon:
- Keeping warm is the primary goal for preventing the onset of Raynaud's phenomenon. Air-conditioning and exposure to refrigeration can trigger this syndrome. If patients go out in cold weather, they should dress warmly with many layers. Wearing a hat is essential.
- Living in a warm climate may help relieve symptoms, although a recent study found that weather changes themselves had little effect on the disorder.
- Exercise is helpful for maintaining a sense of well-being, keeping warm, and sustaining skin flexibility. Patients with Raynaud's phenomenon may want to avoid exercising outdoors in cold weather, however.
- Quitting smoking is, of course, essential for anyone, but it is critical for people with scleroderma.
- Learning relaxation and anti-stress techniques might help reduce some triggers of Raynaud's phenomenon.
- Using moisturizers and antibiotic ointments may be helpful for keeping skin flexible and preventing infections in the fingers.
- Avoiding medications such as nonselective beta blockers (for example, propranolol), certain common cold preparations, and narcotics can reduce the risk of aggravating Raynaud's phenomenon.
Medications Used in the Treatment of Raynaud's Phenomenon
Vasodilators. Vasodilators open blood vessels and so are important for Raynaud's phenomenon.
Calcium-channel blockers, including diltiazem (Cardizem, Dilacor) and nifedipine (Adalat, Procardia) are the standard vasodilating drugs used for Raynaud's phenomenon. Nifedipine is the best studied of these drugs, but there are also newer dihydropyridines, including felodipine, amlodipine, and isradipine.
Nitrates, available in topical or oral forms, are vasodilators that are also used for Raynaud's phenomenon, and for short-term relief.
Review Date: 01/04/2011
Reviewed By: Harvey Simon, MD, Editor-in-Chief, Associate Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School; Physician, Massachusetts General Hospital. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.