Medications Used for Raynaud's
People with secondary Raynaud's phenomenon are more likely than those with the primary form to be treated with medications. Several different types of medication may be recommended for treating Raynaud's, including:
- Calcium channel blockers
- Alpha blockers
Calcium Channel Blockers
Many doctors believe that the most effective and safest drugs for Raynaud's treatment are calcium channel blockers, which relax smooth muscle and dilate the small blood vessels. These medicines decrease the frequency and severity of attacks in about two-thirds of patients who have primary and secondary Raynaud's phenomenon. These drugs can also help heal skin ulcers on the fingers or toes.
Other patients have found relief with drugs called alpha blockers. These medicines counteract the actions of norepinephrine, a hormone that constricts blood vessels.
Some doctors prescribe a nonspecific vasodilator (drug that relaxes blood vessels), such as nitroglycerine paste, which is applied to the fingers, to help heal skin ulcers caused by Raynaud's phenomenon.
Keep in mind that Raynaud's treatment is not always successful. Often, people with secondary Raynaud's phenomenon will not respond as well to treatment as those with the primary form of the disease.
Patients may find that one drug works better than another. Some people may experience side effects that require stopping the medication. For other people, a drug may become less effective over time.
Women of childbearing age should know that the medications used for treating Raynaud's might affect the growing fetus. Therefore, women who are pregnant or are trying to become pregnant should avoid taking these medications if possible.