Drug Therapy

Although there is no current cure for scleroderma, there are many drugs available to help control it, including:

  • Aspirin or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) to treat joint pain and swelling
  • Steroids to treat muscle and joint problems
  • Antacids to relieve heartburn and intestinal motion and to protect the esophagus and stomach
  • Medication to treat high blood pressure
  • Drugs to treat Raynaud's phenomenon by increasing blood flow to your fingers and toes


Exercise is very important for people with scleroderma because it increases skin and joint flexibility, promotes blood flow and prevents contractures. Your doctor and physical therapist can work with you to develop a healthy exercise plan.

Joint Protection

You can reduce stress and injury to your joints by learning to perform daily activities in a special way. Occupational and physical therapists can teach you ways to relieve pain and increase function through joint protection.

Skin Protection

You can protect your skin from injury by:

  • Keeping your body warm to help open blood vessels in your arms, hands, legs and feet
  • Using a cold-water humidifier to keep your skin moist
  • Avoiding strong detergents or other substances that may irritate your skin
  • Trying soaps, creams and bath oils that prevent dry skin
  • Leaving calcium deposits alone
  • Keeping finger ulcers clean

Stress Management

Living with a chronic disease may cause social and emotional stresses. Talk to your doctor or other members of your health care team about ways to reduce stress and fatigue.

Reviewed by health care specialists at UCSF Medical Center.

Related Information

UCSF Clinics & Centers


400 Parnassus Ave., Floor B1
San Francisco, CA 94143
Phone: (415) 353-4407
Fax: (415) 353-8463
Appointment information