Hachulla E1, Hatron PY1, Carpentier P2, Agard C3, Chatelus E4, Jego P5, Mouthon L6, Queyrel V7, Fauchais AL8, Michon-Pasturel U9, Jaussaud R10, Mathian A11, Granel B12, Diot E13, Farge-Bancel D14, Mekinian A15, Avouac J16, Desmurs-Clavel H17, Clerson P18; SEDUCE study group.
To assess the effect of sildenafil, a phosphodiesterase type 5 inhibitor, on digital ulcer (DU) healing in systemic sclerosis (SSc).
Randomised, placebo-controlled study in patients with SSc to assess the effect of sildenafil 20 mg or placebo, three times daily for 12 weeks, on ischaemic DU healing. The primary end point was the time to healing for each DU. Time to healing was compared between groups using Cox models for clustered data (two-sided tests, p=0.05).
Intention-to-treat analysis involved 83 patients with a total of 192 DUs (89 in the sildenafil group and 103 in the placebo group). The HR for DU healing was 1.33 (0.88 to 2.00) (p=0.18) and 1.27 (0.85 to 1.89) (p=0.25) when adjusted for the number of DUs at entry, in favour of sildenafil. In the per protocol population, the HRs were 1.49 (0.98 to 2.28) (p=0.06) and 1.43 (0.93 to 2.19) p=0.10. The mean number of DUs per patient was lower in the sildenafil group compared with the placebo group at week (W) 8 (1.23±1.61 vs 1.79±2.40 p=0.04) and W12 (0.86±1.62 vs 1.51±2.68, p=0.01) resulting from a greater healing rate (p=0.01 at W8 and p=0.03 at W12).
The primary end point was not reached in intention-to-treat, partly because of an unexpectedly high healing rate in the placebo group. We found a significant decrease in the number of DUs in favour of sildenafil compared with placebo at W8 and W12, confirming a sildenafil benefit.