...less medical jargon in a 'Quick Glance' format!
. . . Undifferentiated Connective Tissue Syndrome
No formal study of various treatments in patients with UCTD has been conducted. Most therapies are borrowed from physicians' experiences of their effectiveness in other rheumatic diseases. However, it is unknown to what degree a particular therapy improves the symptoms of UCTD or decreases the rate of flare or the likelihood of evolution to a more defined connective tissue disease.
Most therapies are symptomatic and include:
1.) Analgesics (pain killers such as acetaminophen) and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen for musculoskeletal symptoms, such as joint and muscle aches or pains; 2.) Topical corticosteroids (creams, lotions or gels that have anti-inflammatory action) and anti-malarial pills such as hydroxychloroquine (Plaquenil) for skin and mucous tissue symptoms. Antimalarials have been found to modify immune system function.
For symptoms that don't respond to these drugs, the physician may occasionally prescribe low dose corticosteroids in pill form (such as prednisone) for short periods of time. High doses of corticosteroids, cytotoxic agents (such as cyclophosphamide, brand named Cytoxan), and immunosuppressives (such as azathioprine, brand named Imuran) are almost never used.
However, there is one interesting study of another immunosuppressive drug, methotrexate (brand named Rheumatrex,) that evaluated its use in lupus patients who did not have kidney disease and in 15 UCTD patients whose most common clinical findings were positive ANA, non-erosive polyarthritis, and Raynaud's phenomenon. Overall efficacy was noted in 53% of patients, including six out of 10 with arthritis; 60% had side effects, with 33% discontinuing the drug. It is possible that this drug may be useful for hard-to-treat joint and skin problems, although it is not commonly used at present.