Polymyositis treatment

Polymyositis is a disease which causes the muscles to become weak and inflamed. This disease usually affects the elderly but in some rare cases can also be found in the very young. This condition is more common in women than in men. People who have Polymyositis usually experience a general muscle weakness and fatigue in the beginning. It can progressively get worse so that it becomes difficult to walk or raise your arm above your head. The person will begin to have the tendency to fall because of muscle weakness that develops in the legs. A skin rash called dermatomyositis is often associated with this disease as well. Polymyositis is an autoimmune disease which may be genetically inherited or linked to certain infectious diseases. However, in most cases the cause remains unknown.

Polymyositis treatment is available to help manage this condition only. There is no cure for it. Remission is possible when intervention is provided early enough before the muscles are damaged. Before Polymyositis treatment is begun the doctor will first try to determine the cause so that appropriate treatment for an underlying medical condition is given as well. Diagnosis of this condition is made after a patient history is given and blood tests are done. Muscle biopsy is also used to determine the presence of polymyositis.

This condition can be associated with complications such as respiratory failure since the muscles in the lungs can be affected. However when polymyositis treatment is begun early enough the patient may go on the live a normal and active life. Other patients with this disease may have to make changes in their lifestyle and activity level.

Polymyositis treatment can vary. Certain drugs and various therapies are used to treat this disease. The use of corticosteroids is common. Corticosteroids are used to limit the production of antibodies and reduce muscle inflammation. These drugs also help to reduce muscle weakness. Prednisone is the number one choice for treating inflammatory polymyositis. While taking prednisone the patient is given calcium, vitamin D supplements. Fosamax, Actonel or Reclast is also usually prescribed as well.

When a patient is experiencing too many bad side effects from corticosteroid drugs the doctor may prescribe other medications like azathioprine (Imuran) or methotrexate (Rheumatrex). These drugs may be taken alone or prescribed along with corticosteroids when being used for polymyositis. Certain immunosuppressant drugs like cyclophosphamide (Cytoxan) and cyclosporine (Neoral, Sandimmune) may also be given for symptoms of polymyositis and interstitial lung disease.

Antibody therapies may also be prescribed to treat polymyosistis. These therapies include:

  • Intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIg). This is where antibodies and immunoglobulin from healthy blood donors are given in high doses. The result is that they block your own antibodies that are attacking the muscles because of this disease.
  • Immunosuppressive Therapy. A transplant rejection drug called Tacrolimus (Prograf) is used to treat the skin rash and other skin problems associated with polymyositis. This drug also helps complications caused by interstitial lung disease associated with polymyositis.

Another type of polymyositis treatment uses biological therapies. These therapies have been shown to improve muscle strength. The skin rash and lung problems have also shown improvement. Diet assessment and adjustments are also made when the patient has trouble swallowing or chewing. The muscles in the face may weaken to the point where speech becomes difficult. In these cases speech therapy is prescribed for treatment. Physical therapy is also used to help the patient improve strength and flexibility.

Patients who have polymyositis are encouraged to maintain a daily exercise routine so that they can help rebuild muscle strength. The doctor or physical therapist will give guidelines for a good exercise program for the patient. Patients are told to be careful not to over do it. Exercising to rigorously or when you are fatigued can cause a set back as you have to wait for recovery. Patients are told to slow down and rest when needed.

Last updated on Jan 18th, 2011 and filed under Musculoskeletal Disorders. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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