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Researchers Link Two Genes to Raynaud Disease

Kimberly (Showalter) Lakin, MD, MS, rheumatologist at HSS speaks to Medscape about new therapeutic advances in Raynaud phenomenon, a condition where blood vessels in the extremities constrict and limit blood flow.

The first-line treatment for primary Raynaud is behavioral interventions, like maintaining body and extremity warmth and avoiding certain vasoconstricting drugs, said Dr. Lakin. These drugs could include over-the-counter decongestants and certain medications for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder.

If these behavioral interventions are not enough, clinicians most commonly prescribe calcium channel blockers. These medications are vasodilators but can be a concern for people with normal or already low blood pressure, Dr. Lakin said. They can also cause symptoms like headache, leg swelling, constipation, and other gastrointestinal symptoms.

Other medications like fluoxetine may also be considered as a later-line therapy, "but the effectiveness is fairly limited in Raynaud," explained Dr. Lakin. “Certainly, other medication options that would be helpful and driven by the mechanisms of Raynaud would add to our ability to help patients.”

Read the full article at Medscape.com.