Diltiazem is a calcium channel blocker. This class of drugs is mostly used for treating high blood pressure, coronary artery disease, angina, arrhythmia, and some circulatory conditions, including Raynaud’s disease. They can also be used in gel form to help other conditions, such as anal fissures. The medication works by relaxing muscles and decreasing the blood pressure, which allows for faster wound recovery. For patients with scleroderma, diltiazem gel may effectively treat digital ulcers (finger ulcers).
Earlier studies of diltiazem gel in people with chronic anal fissure showed that the therapy leads to better health-related quality of life.
Study testing Diltiazem gel for digital ulcers in scleroderma
A diltiazem gel versus nitroglycerin ointment study (NCT02801305) for treating digital ulcers, a common problem among scleroderma patients, is currently recruiting participants. The 10-month study aims to evaluate and compare the effects of the two topical ointments on the digital ulcer healing process.
Common side effects of oral diltiazem include constipation, headache, palpitations, dizziness, rash, drowsiness, flushing, nausea, and swelling in the feet and lower legs. Fewer side effects are expected from the gel product.
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