Botulinum toxin type A in the treatment of Raynaud's phenomenon: A three-year follow-up study

Eur J Rheumatol. 2018 Dec;5(4):224-229. doi: 10.5152/eurjrheum.2018.18013. Epub 2018 Oct 12.


Objective: Raynaud's phenomenon consists of vasospastic disease of the digital arteries after exposure to cold or stress. It causes an important reduction in the patient's quality of life when severe. The available treatments do not always offer favorable results.

Methods: A 3-year retrospective study was presented. A total of 15 patients with severe Raynaud's phenomenon who required infiltration with botulinum toxin type A participated in the study. In the first and follow-up visits (30 min, 7 days, 3 months, 6 months, and annual), the overall response by the patient was assessed as was the reduction in the number of weekly episodes of Raynaud's phenomenon, improvement in pain by means of the Visual Analogue Scale, and resolution of ulcers and necrosis as efficacy variables.

Results: A total of 15 patients were included in the study. After 30 min of infiltration, the immediate results showed a very good perception of response in four patients. After 1 month of treatment, eight patients had obtained and maintained a very good response, persisting throughout the study. A statistically significant reduction in pain was obtained, as well as the number of weekly episodes of Raynaud's phenomenon. Of the seven patients with basal ulcers, five were completely healed at 3 months. Of the patients, 64.3% showed an overall satisfaction level of >8 at the end of treatment. No serious adverse events were observed.

Conclusion: Botulinum toxin is a useful treatment for severe Raynaud's phenomenon that is generally well tolerated. Its mechanism of action is not based exclusively on vasodilation. Further studies are necessary to define the ideal patient for this treatment, the most appropriate method of administration, and the number of units and frequency of the infiltrations.