Scleroderma - 2001 National Meeting Reports (cont.)
Erythromycin helped scleroderma stomach more effectively than the bowel
muscle-stimulator drug, metoclopramide.
Dr. Shiel's Perspective: Stomach and bowel muscles can become weakened as
a result of scleroderma, thereby resulting in loss of normal function of the
bowels. It is a serious condition. Doctors have used bowel muscle-stimulating
drugs, such as metoclopramide, in the past. Doctors have also used antibiotics
(I use tetracycline or erythromycin). The reason for the antibiotics is that the
bowel of scleroderma patients can become overgrown with bacteria, which is
associated with slowing the bowel function. The antibiotics seem to improve this
condition. This study is a head-to-head comparison of the two options. It is
encouraging to see that common antibiotics can be beneficial in this condition.
Stem Cell Transplantation
The outcome of 19 scleroderma
patients receiving stem cell transplantation at various university centers was
Dr. Shiel's Perspective: Some of the studied patients had progressive
scleroderma disease. 2 of the subjects died. Some stabilized their disease. A
few had improvement of their skin and function. Stem cell transplantation is
known to be extremely dangerous and requires powerful doses of
immune-suppressing drugs. This study argues for more studies that could
distinguish which patients might really benefit from this procedure.
For more, please visit the MedicineNet.com Scleroderma Center.
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Last Editorial Review: 7/6/2004