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While there is no cure for dermatomyositis, the symptoms can be treated. Options include medication, physical therapy, exercise, heat therapy (including microwave and ultrasound), orthotics and assistive devices, and rest. The standard treatment for dermatomyositis is a corticosteroid drug, given either in pill form or intravenously. Immunosuppressant drugs, such as azathioprine and methotrexate, may reduce inflammation in people who do not respond well to prednisone. Periodic treatment using intravenous immunoglobulin can also improve recovery. Other immunosuppressive agents used to treat the inflammation associated with dermatomyositis include cyclosporine A, cyclophosphamide, and tacrolimus. Physical therapy is usually recommended to prevent muscle atrophy and to regain muscle strength and range of motion. Many individuals with dermatomyositis may need a topical ointment, such as topical corticosteroids, for their skin disorder. They should wear a high-protection sunscreen and protective clothing. Surgery may be required to remove calcium deposits that cause nerve pain and recurrent infections.
Last updated: 8/26/2013
- NINDS Dermatomyositis Information Page. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS). August 2011; http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/dermatomyositis/dermatomyositis.htm. Accessed 8/26/2013.
- Finding Treatment Information - A video developed by GARD Information Specialists that explains how you can find information about treatment for a rare disease.
- ClinicalTrials.gov lists trials that are studying or have studied Dermatomyositis. Click on the link to go to ClinicalTrials.gov to read descriptions of these studies.
- The U.S. National Institutes of Health, through the National Library of Medicine, developed ClinicalTrials.gov to provide patients, family members, and members of the public with current information on clinical research studies. There is a study titled Study and Treatment of Inflammatory Muscle Diseases which may be of interest to you. To find this trial, click on the study title.
- The Research Portfolio Online Reporting Tool (RePORT) provides access to reports, data, and analyses of research activities at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), including information on NIH expenditures and the results of NIH-supported research. Although these projects may not conduct studies on humans, you may want to contact the investigators to learn more. To search for studies, enter the disease name in the "Text Search" box. Then click "Submit Query".