Scleroderma is of two types, namely, systemic scleroderma and localized scleroderma. It is a disease of unknown origin, but hypothesized as an autoimmune disorder with various triggers such as irradiation, trauma, infections, chemicals, genetics, and medications. The localized form of scleroderma is known as morphea, which affects mainly skin and on rare and severe occasions can affect the underlying connective tissue, muscles and bone. It differs from systemic form in that it does not present with Raynaud’s phenomenon, sclerodactyly, nail fold capillaries, telangiectasia and internal organ (lungs, kidney, heart, gastrointestinal tract) fibrosis.
Homeopathy Treatment For Morphea
Homeopathy medications have been used since 18th century. The side effects of these medications are rare and are economical too. The principle behind homeopathic treatment is “Law of Similars”, which means like cures like. In homeopathy diluted doses of a particular substance is given to cure the condition that would have produced the same symptoms of the condition when the medication was given at higher doses. These medications are individualized as these are given with the aim of treating the root cause of the disease, not just the symptoms.
Therefore, alternative treatment with homeopathy is touted to be effective in treating morphea and relieving symptoms. Rhus radicans has been shown to improve morphea in a patient treated with it over a period of 6 months. The symptoms of sclerosis on the skin and ankle improved with alleviation of discoloration, dryness and cracking. The skin also showed flexibility and suppleness. Other homeopathic medications indicated are alumina, silicea, antimonium crudum, argentums nitricum, ranunculus bulbosus, bar c, sepia, dulcamara and petroleum.
Homeopathy is a safe alternative to allopathic medications, which carry significant side effects and not suitable for all patients. Further studies and research need to done to find out their efficacy.
Morphea is a relatively uncommon disease that is a benign and self limiting condition and regresses within 3-5 years. It is three times more commonly seen in women more than in men and in people between the ages of 20-50 years. However, linear morphea is mostly seen in young adults less than 20 years of age. Linear morphea is a form of morphea, which presents as a linear streak that can also affect the underlying connective tissue, muscle and bone. Other forms of morphea are circumscribed morphea (one to several patches affecting the skin), generalized morphea (affecting a wider part of skin) and pansclerotic morphea (affects the skin along with the muscles and bone). Pansclerotic morphea is a severe form of morphea that may be debilitating when underlying bone is involved, which may lead to permanent deformity.
Localized morphea, which is the most common type presents as oval or round, white to yellow plaque, edematous, hard or thickened lesion that has a lilac ring surrounding it. This lesion may gradually resolve, but leave a discolored or hyperpigmented patch in the affected area. Generalized form is more severe and spread over a larger area, but features are similar to localized morphea. It is usually found in the abdomen, chest, and extremities, back and in linear forms face and scalp are also involved.
Morphea is usually asymptomatic, but can cause itching or irritation. However, when deep tissues are involved there might be localized muscle pain, weakness or deformity or limitation of the affected limb.
The first line treatment for morphea includes topical or systemic steroids, tacrolimus, calcipotriene, methotrexate and phototherapy. Although, there is no permanent cure for morphea, the management is aimed at limiting the progression of symptoms. However, the above treatment options are only effective at varying degrees for each patient and the skin disorder may recur, making these options unsatisfactory. The medications used to treat morphea also have health risks as long term use of corticosteroids are associated with suppression of immunity and risk for infections, osteoporosis, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases. Prolonged use of methotrexate is associated with anemia, liver damage, mouth ulcers and nausea and vomiting.