P. Airó, M. Rossi, M. Scarsi
Sep 1, 2007
Clinical and experimental rheumatology
OBJECTIVE To evaluate the role of iloprost, a derivative of prostacyclin, as a possible disease-modifying agent for systemic sclerosis (SSc). METHODS Fifty-six consecutive SSc patients treated for a median period of 4 years with cyclic infusions of iloprost for severe Raynaud's phenomenon and ischemic ulcers were compared with 56 control patients matched for age, sex, disease subset and duration. Control patients were also similar to the iloprost group with regard to autoantibody status, the presence of major disease-related organ manifestations at baseline, and the use of other treatments. The evolution of lung function test results, the frequency of major disease-specific complications and the survival of the cohorts were the objects of this analysis. RESULTS No significant difference was observed between the two groups with regard to changes in lung function tests over time, or the number of patients who presented with the onset of active interstitial lung disease, pulmonary arterial hypertension or scleroderma renal crisis. Survival did not differ between the two groups. CONCLUSION The evolution of lung function test results, the frequency of major disease-specific complications, and survival did not differ significantly between SSc patients treated with cyclic iloprost and a group of patients matched for sex, age, and disease subset and duration. However, no cases of severe pulmonary arterial hypertension were observed in the patients treated with iloprost, suggesting that studies focusing on the possible preventive action of iloprost on the progression of SSc- associated mild pulmonary arterial hypertension would be warranted.