Vasodilators for primary Raynaud's phenomenon

Kevin Y.C. Su*, Meghna Sharma, Hyunjun Jonathan Kim, Elizabeth Kaganov, Ian Hughes, Mohamed Hashim Abdeen, Jennifer Hwee Kwoon Ng

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Background: Numerous agents have been suggested for the symptomatic treatment of primary Raynaud's phenomenon. Apart from calcium channel blockers, which are considered to be the drugs of choice, evidence of the effects of alternative pharmacological treatments is limited. This is an update of a review first published in 2008. Objectives: To assess the effects of drugs with vasodilator effects on primary Raynaud's phenomenon as determined by frequency, severity, and duration of vasospastic attacks; quality of life; adverse events; and Raynauds Condition Score. Search methods: The Cochrane Vascular Information Specialist searched the Cochrane Vascular Specialised Register, CENTRAL, MEDLINE, Embase, and CINAHL databases, and the World Health Organization International Clinical Trials Registry Platform and the ClinicalTrials.gov trial register to November 16, 2020. Selection criteria: We included randomized controlled trials evaluating effects of oral, intravenous, and topical formulations of any drug with vasodilator effects on subjective symptoms, severity scores, and radiological outcomes in primary Raynaud's phenomenon. Treatment with calcium channel blockers was not assessed in this review, nor were these agents compared. Data collection and analysis: Two review authors independently selected studies for inclusion, assessed studies using the Cochrane "Risk of bias" tool, and extracted study data. Outcomes of interest included frequency, severity, and duration of attacks; quality of life (QoL); adverse events (AEs); and the Raynaud Condition Score (RCS). We assessed the certainty of the evidence using GRADE. Main results: We identified seven new studies for this update. In total, we included 15 studies involving 635 participants. These studies compared different vasodilators to placebo. Individual studies used different methods and measures to report different outcomes. Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors. Combining data from three studies revealed a possible small increase in the frequency of attacks per week after treatment (captopril or enalapril) compared to placebo (mean difference [MD] 0.79, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.43 to 1.17; low-certainty evidence). There was no evidence of a difference between groups in severity of attacks (MD -0.17, 95% CI -4.66 to 4.31; 34 participants, 2 studies; low-certainty evidence); duration of attacks (MD 0.54, 95% CI -2.42 to 1.34; 14 participants, 1 study; low-certainty evidence); or AEs (risk ratio [RR] 1.35, 95% CI 0.67 to 2.73; 46 participants, 3 studies; low-certainty evidence). QoL and RCS were not reported. Alpha blockers. Two studies used alpha blockers (buflomedil or moxisylyte). We were unable to combine data due to the way results were presented. Buflomedil probably reduced the frequency of attacks compared to placebo (MD -8.82, 95% CI -11.04 to -6.60; 31 participants, 1 study; moderate-certainty evidence) and may improve severity scores (MD -0.41, 95% CI -0.62 to -0.30; moderate-certainty evidence). With moxisylyte, investigators reported fewer attacks (P < 0.02), less severe symptoms (P < 0.01), and shorter duration of attacks, but the clinical relevance of these results is unclear. No evidence of a difference in AEs between buflomedil and placebo groups was noted (RR 1.41, 95% CI 0.27 to 7.28; 31 participants, 1 study; moderate-certainty evidence). More AEs were observed in participants in the moxisylyte group than in the placebo group. Prostaglandin/prostacyclin analogues. One study compared beraprost versus placebo. There was no evidence of benefit for frequency (MD 2.00, 95% CI -0.35 to 4.35; 118 participants, low-certainty evidence) or severity (MD -0.06, 95% CI -0.34 to 0.22; 118 participants, low-certainty evidence) of attacks. Overall, more AEs were noted in the beraprost group (RR 1.59, 95% CI 1.05 to 2.42; 125 participants; low-certainty evidence). This study did not report on duration of attacks, QoL, or RCS. Thromboxane synthase inhibitors. One study compared a thromboxane synthase inhibitor (dazoxiben) versus placebo. There was no evidence of benefit for frequency of attacks (MD 0.8, 95% CI -1.81 to 3.41; 6 participants; very low-certainty evidence). Adverse events were not reported in subgroup analyses of participants with primary Raynaud's phenomenon, and the study did not report on duration of attacks, severity of symptoms, QoL, or RCS. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors. One study compared ketanserin with placebo. There may be a slight reduction in the number of attacks per week with ketanserin compared to placebo (MD -14.0, 95% CI -27.72 to -0.28; 41 participants; very low-certainty evidence) and reduced severity score (MD -133.00, 95% CI -162.40 to -103.60; 41 participants; very low-certainty evidence). There was no evidence that ketanserin reduced the duration of attacks (MD -4.00, 95% CI -14.82 to 6.82; 41 participants; very low-certainty evidence), or that AEs were increased in either group (RR 1.54, 95% CI 0.89 to 2.65; 41 participants; very low-certainty evidence). This study did not report on QoL or RCS. Nitrate/nitrate derivatives. Four studies compared topical treatments of nitroglycerin or glyceryl trinitrate versus placebo, each reporting on limited outcomes. Meta-analysis demonstrated no evidence of effect on frequency of attacks per week (MD -1.57, 95% CI -4.31 to 1.17; 86 participants, 2 studies; very low-certainty evidence). We were unable to pool any data for the remaining outcomes. Phosphodiesterase inhibitors. Three studies compared phosphodiesterase inhibitors (vardenafil, cilostazol or PF-00489791) to an equivalent placebo. Results showed no evidence of a difference in frequency of attacks (standardized MD [SMD] -0.05, 95% CI -6.71 to 6.61; 111 participants, 2 studies; low-certainty evidence), severity of attacks (MD -0.03, 95% CI -1.04 to 0.97; 111 participants, 2 studies; very low-certainty evidence), duration of attacks (MD -1.60, 95% CI -7.51 to 4.31; 73 participants, 1 study; low-certainty evidence), or RCS (SMD -0.8, 95% CI -1.74 to 0.13; 79 participants, 2 studies; low-certainty evidence). Study authors reported that 35% of participants on cilostazol complained of headaches, which were not reported in the placebo group. PF-00489791 caused 34 of 54 participants to experience AEs versus 43 of 102 participants receiving placebo (RR 1.49). Headache was most common, affecting 14 participants (PF-00489791) versus nine participants (placebo). Authors' conclusions: The included studies investigated several different vasodilators (topical and oral) for treatment of primary Raynaud's phenomenon. Small sample sizes, limited data, and variability in outcome reporting yielded evidence of very low to moderate certainty. Evidence is insufficient to support the use of vasodilators and suggests that vasodilator use may even worsen disease.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberCD006687
JournalCochrane Database of Systematic Reviews
Volume2021
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 17 May 2021
Externally publishedYes

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