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You can usually treat Raynaud's phenomenon yourself, although medication is sometimes necessary.
If you've been diagnosed with secondary Raynaud’s, you may be referred to a specialist in the treatment of the underlying condition.
If your secondary Raynaud’s may be a side effect of a medication, you may be asked to stop taking it, to see if your symptoms improve.
The following advice is recommended for both primary and secondary Raynaud’s.
If you find it difficult to control feelings of stress, you may require additional treatment, such as counselling. Read more about therapies for stress.
If your symptoms fail to improve, you may be prescribed nifedipine. This is the only medicine licensed to treat Raynaud's phenomenon in the UK. It doesn't cure Raynaud's, but can help to relieve the symptoms.
Nifedipine is a calcium channel blocker – a type of medication that encourages the blood vessels to widen.
Depending on the pattern of your symptoms and how well you respond to treatment, you may be asked to take your medication every day. Alternatively, you may only need to take it as prevention; for example, during a sudden snap of cold weather.
Side effects are common and include:
Don't drink grapefruit juice when taking nifedipine, as this could make side effects worse.
The side effects should improve as your body gets used to the medicine, but tell your GP if you find them particularly troublesome. There are alternative calcium channel blockers that may suit you better.
Other medications have been used to treat Raynaud’s, but their use is controversial, as there is limited evidence to show they're effective in most people. However, some people have claimed to benefit from treatment. These medications include:
These medicines are not licensed for the treatment of Raynaud's in the UK, but you may be prescribed them if it's thought the potential benefit outweighs the possible risks. Read more about medicine licensing.
Surgery for Raynaud's is rare. It's usually only recommended if your symptoms are so severe that there's a risk the affected body part, such as your fingers, could lose their blood supply and begin to die. Read more about the complications of Raynaud's phenomenon.
A type of surgery called sympathectomy is sometimes used. It involves cutting the nerves causing the affected blood vessels to spasm.
The results of a sympathectomy are often only temporary and further treatment and possibly more surgery may be required after a few years.