Raynaud’s Phenomenon is a circulatory condition which affects the fingers and toes. It is caused by constricted blood vessels.
- Can be caused by stress or cold weather
- Sometimes the result of other conditions
- Treatable with nifedipine
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Raynaud’s phenomenon is a condition which affects the fingers and toes, and is caused by inhibited circulation in the body. It is also known as Raynaud’s syndrome, or Raynaud’s disease. The condition is named after Maurice Raynaud, the French doctor who discovered the phenomenon in the 19th century.
There are two categories of Raynaud’s: primary and secondary. In primary instances of the condition, symptoms simply develop by themselves; whereas in secondary cases, an underlying illness is responsible. This might be a condition which involves the immune system, such as rheumatoid arthritis or lupus.
Symptoms typically consist of whitening of the ends of the fingers and toes, caused by a loss of circulation. Resultantly, a loss of sensation or feelings of mild pain may also be felt in the extremities, and this may cause a person problems when using their hands. The ends of the fingers and toes may turn blue and then red as circulation returns to normal. Rarely is the condition serious, but it can be frustrating. In a minority of cases, complications can develop; these are often linked to secondary Raynaud’s.
Diagnosis is usually undertaken by a GP, who may position your hands in a cold environment (such as under a running cold tap) to see if symptoms occur. Blood testing may be done to determine whether it is a primary or secondary case of the condition. The NHS estimates that around one in five in the UK has Raynaud’s making it fairly common.
Treatment for Raynaud’s starts with self-help. Symptoms are often brought on by one or more of a collection of triggers, such as cold weather, or stress. Wearing appropriate clothing during colder days can therefore help to reduce the development of symptoms, as can managing stress levels. In many cases, however, these techniques may not suffice in reducing symptoms and medication may be necessary. The only treatment licensed for Raynaud’s in the UK is Adalat, which contains nifedipine.
In this drug, the functioning constituent is a calcium-channel blocker. The way these treatments work is by allowing the blood vessels to widen, and this helps blood to reach the extremities. They do this by preventing calcium from moving through the muscle walls of blood vessels, and limiting constriction.
Please note that we do not offer treatment for Raynaud’s through our site. If you are experiencing symptoms, we recommend you see your GP in person.
Persons experiencing Raynaud’s symptoms can undertake a series of self-help techniques in order to limit the extent of the condition. These include protecting the body from cold weather by wearing warm clothing; stopping smoking; reducing stress; and getting regular exercise.
However, these measures will not eliminate symptoms in all cases, and sometimes medication may be necessary.
The only medicine currently licensed for the treatment of Raynaud’s in the UK is a drug called nifedipine, which is also known by Adalat, its branded name.
How do they work?
In Adalat, the active ingredient works as a calcium-channel blocker, which prevents the blood vessels in the body from becoming tight and restricted.
This enables better blood flow to the extremities and reduces symptoms.
What are the side effects?
More common side effects include swelling of the ankles and feet, due to collecting fluid in these regions; headaches; palpitations; constipation; and feeling light-headed.
Refer to the product page for Adalat to find more detailed information.
Can I take them with other medications?
It may not be suitable for use in conjunction with a range of medicines. You can find more information on these on the relevant product page.
Inform your doctor during consultation if you are using any other treatments.
What’s the difference between the medications?
Presently, nifedipine is the only prescription medicine licensed for the treatment of Raynaud’s in the UK, and is only available to buy after consultation with a doctor.
Should I take Adalat?
If you have been unable to manage symptoms through self-help techniques alone, then your doctor may suggest using this treatment to help relieve the condition. During consultation, make sure you tell your doctor about your medical history and any other treatments you are currently using, so that they can make an informed decision as to whether or not this product is suitable.
Are there different side effects?
Some of the more common side effects associated with this medication include oedema, palpitations and headaches.
Is it right for me?
Speak to your GP. They will be able to determine whether this treatment is suitable after reviewing your symptoms and medical profile.
Please note that we do not offer treatment for Raynaud’s through our site.
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