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Polymyositis (PM)
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Polymyositis

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Polymyositis is an uncommon disease that causes inflammation in your muscles. Doctors also refer to it as a type of connective tissue disease. Its most noticeable characteristic is muscle weakness, especially in the muscles closest to your trunk, such as your shoulder and hip muscles. As a result, you may find it difficult to get out of chairs, climb stairs, brush your hair or work with your arms over your head. The disease is rarely fatal, but it can be disabling in its more severe forms.

Treatment

Although there's no cure for polymyositis, treatment can improve your muscle strength and function. Treatment begun early in the disease process tends to be more effective, often because there are fewer complications. Methods of therapy include the following:

  • Corticosteroids. These medications suppress your immune system, limiting the production of antibodies and reducing muscle inflammation. Corticosteroids, especially prednisone (Deltasone), are usually the first choice in treating inflammatory myopathies such as polymyositis. Your doctor may begin with a very high dose, then decrease it as your symptoms improve. This generally takes about two to four weeks. Significant results are usually evident within three to six months, but therapy is often needed for years. Prolonged use of corticosteroids can have serious side effects including osteoporosis, weight gain, diabetes, increased risk of some infections, mood swings, cataracts, high blood pressure, a redistribution of body fat and muscle weakness. As a result, your doctor may also recommend supplements such as calcium and vitamin D and may prescribe bisphosphonates such as alendronate (Fosamax) or risedronate (Actonel). If you're postmenopausal, your doctor may prescribe estrogen to reduce the risk of osteoporosis.

  • Other immunosuppressants. If your body doesn't respond adequately to corticosteroids, your doctor may recommend other immunosuppressive drugs such as azathioprine (Imuran) or methotrexate (Folex, Rheumatrex). Your doctor may prescribe these alone or in combination with corticosteroids. When in combination, these additional immunosuppressants can be used to lessen the dose and potential side effects of the corticosteroid. Immunosuppressants such as cyclophosphamide (Cytoxan, Neosar) and cyclosporine (Neoral, Sandimmune) may improve symptoms of polymyositis and interstitial lung disease.

  • Physical therapy. A physical therapist can show you various exercises to maintain and improve your strength and flexibility and advise an appropriate level of activity. Your exercise program is likely to change during the course of the disease and treatment period. Keeping active in general and pacing yourself will help maintain muscle strength.

Treatments whose long-term effectiveness isn't known include:

  • Intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIg). This involves receiving intravenous infusions of antibodies from a group of donors over two to five days.

  • Plasmapheresis. This treatment, also called plasma exchange, is a type of blood cleansing in which damaging antibodies are removed from your blood.

Therapeutic plasmapheresis is a process in which the fluid part of the blood, called plasma, is removed from blood cells by a device known as a cell separator. ...

  • Radiation therapy. This involves irradiation of the lymph nodes, a part of the immune system.

Treatments that are still in the experimental phase but have shown signs of being effective include fludarabine (Fludara), an agent that prevents the development and growth of malignant cells, and tacrolimus (Prograf), a transplant rejection drug.

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This information is provided for general medical education purposes only and is not meant to substitute for the independent medical judgment of a physician relative to diagnostic and treatment options of a specific patient's medical condition.
In no event will The DrEddyclinic.com be liable for any decision made or action taken in reliance upon the information provided through this web site.

 


 



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