Treatments for Dermatomyositis (DM) and Polymyositis (PM)

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Biological Agents
Combination Therapies
Stem Cell Transplants


Treatments for polymyositis and dermatomyositis include biological agents, exercise, immunosuppressants, steroids, IVIg, and stem cell transplants. (Also see Autoimmune Diseases, and Dermatomyositis/Polymyositis)

Biological Agents

Rituximab therapy in patients with refractory dermatomyositis (DM) or polymyositis (PM): differential effects in a real-life population. Objective improvement was seen in the majority of patients with regard to creatine phosphokinase (CPK) and lung function tests, and glucocorticoids could be reduced. PubMed, Rheumatology (Oxford), 2014 Apr 4.

Combination Therapies

Dermatomyositis and Polymyositis Associated with Malignancy: A 21-year Retrospective Study. In patients with tumor-associated myositis, it was more frequently necessary to administer other immunosuppressive drugs along with glucocorticoids. J Rheumatol [2008];35:438-44.


Safety and possible effects of low-intensity resistance training associated with partial blood flow restriction in polymyositis (PM) and dermatomyositis (DM). A 12-week supervised low-intensity resistance training program associated with partial blood flow restriction may be safe and effective in improving muscle strength and function as well as muscle mass and health-related quality of life in patients with PM and DM. Arthritis Research & Therapy, 25 October 2014.


How is Polymyositis Treated? Initially, polymyositis is treated with high doses of corticosteroids.

The efficacy of tacrolimus in patients with refractory dermatomyositis/polymyositis (DM/PM): a systematic review. Current evidence appears to support the use of tacrolimus in refractory PM/DM and PM/DM-ILD patients and it seems to be a safe drug that improves both muscle strength and lung function, and is well tolerated by patients. PubMed, Clin Rheumatol, 09/02/2015.

Intravenous Immunoglobulin (IVIg)

Clinical efficacy of intravenous immunoglobulins for the treatment of dermatomyositis skin lesions without muscle disease. IVIg may be an effective and safe treatment for DM with isolated skin involvement. PubMed, J Eur Acad Dermatol Venereol, 2014 Sep;28(9):1150-7.

Successful Treatment With Intravenous High-Dose Immunoglobulin For Cardiomyopathy In Dermatomyositis Complicated With Rapid Progressive Interstitial Pneumonia And Macrophage Activation Syndrome. This is the first report that IVIg may be effective for cardiomyopathy in dermatomyositis. ATS Journal, 2014.

Stem Cell Transplants

Stem cell transplantation in myositis. The aim of this clinical trial from 2005-2015 is to test whether it is safe to transplant stem cells from the blood into patients with myositis whose condition has not responded to conventional treatments. Muscular Dystrophy Campaign.

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