Treatments for Dermatomyositis (DM) and Polymyositis (PM)

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Biological Agents
CB2 Agonist
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 for refractory rapidly progressive interstitial lung disease (RP–ILD) related to anti-MDA5 antibody–positive amyopathic dermatomyositis. Our results suggest that RTX may be a useful therapy for anti-MDA5 Ab-positive ADM associated with RP–ILD, although infection is the major risk. PubMed, Clin Rheumatol, 04/30/2018. (Also see Biologic Agents)

The Use of Rituximab in the Management of Refractory Dermatomyositis. This is a retrospective study of 25 patients with dermatomyositis who were treated with rituximab. PubMed, J Drugs Dermatol. 2017 Feb 1;16(2):162-166.

Cannabinoid Receptor Type 2 (CB2) Agonist

Corbus Pharmaceuticals to Commence Phase 3 Study of Lenabasum for the Treatment of Rare Autoimmune Disease Dermatomyositis. Corbus Pharmaceuticals announced today that the Company will proceed with a Phase 3 trial evaluating the efficacy and safety of lenabasum for the treatment of dermatomyositis. Globe Newswire, 07/25/2018. (Also see Endocannabinoid System and Clinical Trials)

Combination Therapies

(Expired Article) 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 .


Physical therapy in adult inflammatory myopathy patients: a systematic review. Physical therapy does not have a negative effect on the disease activity of idiopathic inflammatory myopathies in quiescent disease and could improve functional outcome. PubMed, Clin Rheumatol, 2019 Aug;38(8):2039-2051.


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

Expression of interleukin-18 in muscle tissue of patients with polymyositis or dermatomyositis and effects of conventional immunosuppressive treatment. IL-18 is highly expressed in muscle tissue in the context of inflammatory myopathies and based on its plausible effector functions could provide a novel therapeutic target in future. PubMed, Rheumatology (Oxford), 08/08/2018. (Also see Interleukins)

Intravenous Immunoglobulin (IVIg)

Corticosteroid-sparing (CS) benefit of intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIg) in systemic sclerosis-associated myopathy (SScAM): A comparative study in 52 patients. This study suggests the benefit of IVIg as adjunctive therapy, with an acceptable tolerance profile, and supports its use as a CS-sparing agent, in SScAM. PubMed, Autoimmun Rev, 2020 Jan;19(1):102431.

Case Report: Intravenous Immune Globulin in Amyopathic Dermatomyositis (ADM) – Report of Two Cases and Review of the Literature. We present both cases in describing IVIG as a rescue and maintenance steroid–sparing agent in the treatment of severe refractory ADM. PubMed, Open Rheumatol J.

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.

Stem Cell Transplants

Inflammatory myopathies (IM) after allogeneic stem cell transplantation (SCT). Among recipients of allo-SCT, weakness is common, and the incidence of IM is increased. PubMed, Muscle Nerve, 2018 Dec;58(6):790-795.

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