Nephrogenic Systemic Fibrosis Treatment Options are Limited

Nephrogenic Systemic Fibrosis, also known as Nephrogenic Fibrosing Dermopathy, (NSF/NFD) is a rare disorder which is progressive and often results in permanent problems or possibly even death.

It is a relatively new disease which has only begun to be identified over the past ten years.  It is observed in those with impaired kidney function, who develop the disorder after receiving an MRI contrast agent known as gadolinium.

There are currently no known Nephrogenic Systemic Fibrosis treatment options which are consistently successful in curing the disorder.  Researchers have seen indications that improving kidney function can slow the progression of the symptoms and in some cases lead to a gradual reversal over time.

Although some have reported improvements in their ability to move with softening of the thick and rigid skin associated with the disease, there have been no known reports of a complete recovery for someone with continuing renal disease or kidney problems.


The International Center for Nephrogenic Fibrosing Dermopathy (NFD/NSF) Research is a group of scientists and physicians based at Yale University who are coordinating Nephrogenic Systemic Fibrosis research.  They collect and organize information regarding patients with NSF across the world to evaluate the success of different therapies and potential future treatment options.

According to information contained on the NFD/NSF Research website, some therapies which may or may not have contributed to observed improvements for those with Nephrogenic Systemic Fibrosis (NFS/NFD) include:

  • Oral Steroids (prednisone) – it is not clear whether prednisone affects the NSF disease or the underlying renal disease, but it has shown improvement for some individuals
  • Topical Dovonex (under occlusion) – use with vascular compression stockings has been reported to show benefits
  • Extracorporeal photopheresis (ECP) – after several courses of ECP, some patients in Europe reported softening of the affected areas
  • Plasmapheresis – some have reported slight improvements while others have shown no improvement
  • Thalidomide – although long term tolerance of the drug may be an issue, there have been reports of subjective improvements
  • Ultraviolet therapy – PUVA together with Soriatane and prednisone could be helpful for some patients
  • Physical Therapy (PT) – exercises, deep massage and swimming may slow the progression of joint problems
  • Kidney transplant – although renal transplant does not necessarily lead to improvement, when kidney function returns to normal, some have reported partial or complete resolution of NSF.

SOURCE:  Cowper SE, Nephrogenic Fibrosing Dermopathy
[NFD/NSF Website]. 2001 – 2007.
Information as of 5/01/2007.


Lawsuits are no longer being reviewed for Nephrogenic Systemic Fibrosis. This page is for informational purposes to outline information about this condition, which was involved in a prior case investigated by our law firm.