Some disorders of muscle can be caused by inflammation from a person’s own immune system. This is called an autoimmune myopathy or myositis. Polymyositis and dermatomyositis are two of the most common forms. The most common symptom is weakness. Sometimes muscles may be painful. In dermatomyositis there is a rash on the face, chest or hands.
Blood tests and a test called an electromyogram (EMG) can diagnose myositis in some cases, but oftentimes a muscle biopsy is needed. Dr. Saperstein has advanced training in the performance and interpretation of muscle biopsies.
Correct diagnosis of myositis is important so appropriate treatment can be provided. Genetic problems of muscle, such as muscular dystrophies, can be mistaken for myositis. In addition, there is a disease called inclusion body myositis (IBM) that looks a lot like polymyositis but, unlike polymyositis, IBM does not respond to treatments aimed at decreasing inflammation in the muscles.
Treatment options for polymyositis and dermatomyositis include prednisone, methotrexate, azathioprine, rituximab and IVIG. These medications can have serious side effects, so you need an experienced clinician managing these. Dr. Saperstein has spent over 20 years diagnosing, treating and researching these diseases so you can be confident your care will be state of the art.