Morphea - Treatments

Morphea usually goes away without treatment, though it may leave scars or areas of discolored skin. Until your condition clears up, you may want to pursue treatment that helps control your signs and symptoms.

Treatment options include:

  • Light therapy. A special treatment that uses ultraviolet light (phototherapy) may improve your skin's appearance, especially when used soon after skin changes appear.
  • Drugs that fight inflammation. Your doctor may prescribe an immunosuppressive medication, such as oral methotrexate (Rheumatrex, Trexall). This may be used in combination with corticosteroid pills for the first few months. Each of these drugs has potentially serious side effects.
  • A form of vitamin D. The prescription cream calcipotriene is a synthetic form of vitamin D. It may help soften the skin patches caused by morphea. Skin generally begins to improve during the first months of treatment. Possible side effects include burning, stinging and a rash.
  • Physical therapy. This type of treatment uses exercise to prevent joint deformity and maintain movement.

If any contractures of joints occur, surgery and long-term physiotherapy can be of use. Plastic surgery may be a possible form of treatment for deeper forms of morphoea, in particular en coup de sabre. At all times, the side effects of treatment versus the condition itself must be weighed up by the patient and his or her doctor. If the disease is mild or not progressing then it may be appropriate not to apply or take specific therapy. In extensive morphoea or when there is interference with growth, as can occur in childhood, then treatment should be much more intensive.

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