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Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center (GARD)

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Your Question

Are there any medical breakthroughs or medical trials that are being conducted for polymyositis?  Can the symptoms be reversed if the proper treatment is done?

Our Answer

We have identified the following information that we hope you find helpful. If you still have questions, please contact us.

How might polymyositis be treated?

Unfortunately, there is no cure for polymyositis, but treatment can improve muscle strength.  Treatment for polymyositis aims to reduce harmful immune responses that cause the muscle inflammation associated with this condition.  Corticosteroids, particularly prednisone, are medications that decrease immune responses.  Medications such as azathioprine or methotrexate may be used to suppress the immune system if polymyositis does not respond to corticosteroids.  Another therapy used to treat muscle inflammation is a medication called tacrolimus.  Antibody therapy can be given to block damaging antibodies.  Physical therapy is usually recommended to maintain and improve muscle strength.[1]

Though these have not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration, investigational treatments for polymyositis include the medications rituximab, etanercept and infliximab.[1]

Additional details regarding treatment of polymyositis can be found by clicking here.
Last updated: 11/24/2010

What clinical trials are being conducted for polymyositis?

A list of clinical trials available to individuals with polymyositis can be found at  This website includes a section on "Understanding Clinical Trials" that provides detailed information about participating in a clinical trial.
Last updated: 11/24/2010

What is the prognosis for individuals with polymyositis?

Most individuals with polymyositis respond well to treatment and regain muscle strength, though some muscle weakness may still persist.[2]  If therapies are not effective, individuals may develop significant disability.[3]
Last updated: 11/24/2010