There have been substantial strides in the therapy of systemic sclerosis (SSc) in recent years, particularly in the management of individual organ manifestations. Effective treatments are available for SSc renal crisis and many of the gastrointestinal manifestations of the disease. Raynaud's phenomenon, a nearly universal problem in SSc, also may be effectively managed. Treatment of the pulmonary complications, pulmonary hypertension and interstitial lung disease, remains difficult. Patients with early, diffuse SSc are the best candidates for experimental therapies intended to modify the overall disease process. Most disease-modifying agents have been directed at the fibrotic and inflammatory processes characteristic of SSc and have achieved little success. Future therapies may target mediators of vascular dysfunction in SSc. The success of future therapeutic trials will depend on collaborative efforts between treatment centers.
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