OBJECTIVE--To compare the efficacy, tolerance and safety of 50-150 micrograms orally administered iloprost given twice a day versus placebo in patients with Raynaud's syndrome. METHODS--The study was multicentre (n = 3), double blind and placebo controlled. Sixty three patients who had eight or more vasospastic attacks per week were enrolled. After a one week run-in period, all patients received either iloprost or placebo treatment to a maximum tolerated dose of 150 micrograms twice a day for 10 days. Diary cards assessed the duration and severity of the vasospastic attacks. Side effects were monitored by direct questioning. A global assessment of treatment efficacy was made by the patient at the end of treatment and two weeks later. RESULTS--Patient opinion tended to favour iloprost at the end of the 10 day treatment phase (p = 0.09) and this was significant at day 24 (the follow up visit) (p = 0.011). Although the duration and severity of attacks tended to decrease in the iloprost treated group, these results tended not to reach statistical significance (for severity p = 0.06 at end of treatment, p = 0.09 on day 24). CONCLUSION--Iloprost administered intravenously has been shown to be of benefit in the treatment of the Raynaud's syndrome associated with systemic sclerosis, but this route of administration is inconvenient. This study evaluated the use of iloprost administered orally to patients with Raynaud's syndrome. Patient documented improvement was significantly improved by iloprost. Diary card analysis showed a trend in favour of iloprost, but these results did not reach statistical significance.
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