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Derm News: 2007.20(4)

Treatment of severe scleroderma skin ulcers with recombinant human erythropoietin

Clinical and Experimental Dermatology, 32(3):287-290
Treatment of severe scleroderma skin ulcers with recombinant human erythropoietin


Systemic sclerosis (SSc) is frequently complicated by skin ulcers, often unresponsive to traditional treatments. A preliminary evaluation of the effects of recombinant human erythropoietin (rHuEPO) was carried out in 14 patients with SSc with nonhealing, severe cutaneous ulcers. Patients received rHuEPO subcutaneously at a dosage of 150 IU/kg 3 times weekly for 2 weeks, twice weekly for the next 2 weeks, and then once weekly for 1 month. At follow-up 3-6 months from the beginning of the treatment, six patients showed complete resolution of the skin ulcers, while a significant reduction (> 60%) in lesional areas was obtained in the other eight patients (mean SD ulcer area reduced from 27.6 28 to 5.3 7.8 cm2; P < 0.005). Moreover, patients' quality of life significantly improved (pain, as measured on visual analogue scale reduced from 96 5 to 46 17 points; P = 0.0001; disability as measured by the Health Assessment Questionnaire-Disability Index reduced from 1.6 0.5 to 0.9 0.4 points; P = 0.0001). The rHuEPO may represent a novel treatment of nonhealing scleroderma skin ulcers, suggesting some important aetiopathological implications.

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The Derm News service provided by the Editorial Consultants of Skin Therapy Letter© and its founding editor Dr. Stuart Maddin.