Polymyositis and dermatomyositis are serious inflammatory muscle disorders which may present life-threatening complications. It is important to recognise and treat the condition in the early stages of the disease. Corticosteroids remain the mainstay of treatment, and their resistance and other forms of immunotherapy are discussed.
- Treatment may involve using a corticosteroid drug, although effectiveness is less predictable in these disorders than in some of the other inflammatory diseases.
- As a result, many rheumatologists turn to one of the cytotoxic drugs (agents that destroy abnormal cells) to work in conjunction with the corticosteroids in attempting to suppress the muscle inflammation and retard the destructive process.
- Usually by combining the two classes of drugs, lower and safer doses of both can be used, thereby avoiding some of the more serious side- effects that might be produced when either is used alone in higher doses.