- By sahlhealth
- May 18, 2021
- 30 views
Polymyositis (pol-e-my-o-SY-tis) is an uncommon inflammatory disease that causes muscle weakness affecting both sides of your body. Having this condition can make it difficult to climb stairs, rise from a seated position, lift objects or reach overhead.
Polymyositis most commonly affects adults in their 30s, 40s or 50s. It's more common in blacks than in whites, and women are affected more often than men. Signs and symptoms usually develop gradually, over weeks or months.
While there is no cure for polymyositis, treatment — ranging from medications to physical therapy — can improve your muscle strength and function.
The muscle weakness associated with polymyositis involves the muscles closest to the trunk, such as those in your hips, thighs, shoulders, upper arms and neck. The weakness affects both the left and right sides of your body, and tends to gradually worsen.
Although there's no cure for polymyositis, treatment can improve your muscle strength and function. The earlier treatment is started in the course of polymyositis, the more effective it is — leading to fewer complications.
However, as with many conditions, no single approach is best; your doctor will tailor your treatment strategy based on your symptoms and how well they respond to therapy.
The most commonly used medications to treat polymyositis include:
Corticosteroids. Drugs such as prednisone can be very effective in controlling polymyositis symptoms. But prolonged use of these drugs can have serious and wide-ranging side effects, which is why your doctor may gradually taper the dose of medication down to lower levels.
Corticosteroid-sparing agents. When used in combination with a corticosteroid, these drugs can decrease the dose and potential side effects of the corticosteroid. The two most common medications used for polymyositis are azathioprine (Azasan, Imuran) and methotrexate (Trexall). Other medications prescribed for polymyositis include mycophenolate mofetil (CellCept), cyclosporine and tacrolimus.
Rituximab (Rituxan). More commonly used to treat rheumatoid arthritis, rituximab is an option if initial therapies don't adequately control your polymyositis symptoms.
Depending on the severity of your symptoms, your doctor might suggest:
Physical therapy. A physical therapist can show you exercises to maintain and improve your strength and flexibility and advise an appropriate level of activity.
Speech therapy. If your swallowing muscles are weakened by polymyositis, speech therapy can help you learn how to compensate for those changes.
Dietetic assessment. Later in the course of polymyositis, chewing and swallowing can become more difficult. A registered dietitian can teach you how to prepare easy-to-eat, nutritious foods.
Surgical and other procedures
Intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIg) is a purified blood product that contains healthy antibodies from thousands of blood donors. These healthy antibodies can block the damaging antibodies that attack muscle in polymyositis. Given as an infusion through a vein, IVIg treatments may need to be repeated regularly for the effects to continue.