What are some alternative medications people use for polymyositis?


Quick Answer

The only alternative medication for polymyositis is Rituxan, which usually treats rheumatoid arthritis, according to Mayo Clinic. The most common medications for treating polymyositis include corticosteroids and corticosteroid-sparing agents. There is no cure for polymyositis, as of 2015, but these medications may help treat the symptoms.

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Full Answer

Corticosteroids, such as prednisone, may work to control the symptoms of polymyositis, states Mayo Clinic. However, the long-term use of these drugs may cause serious side effects, so doctors often gradually taper the use of the medication. Doctors also use corticosteroid-sparing agents, such as azathioprine and methotrexate, to decrease side effects when taken with a corticosteroid. Rituxan, which is the alternative drug, is usually only given when the typical drugs do not control the symptoms of polymyositis.

Depending on the severity of the symptoms of polymyositis, a doctor may also suggest treatments such as physical therapy, speech therapy and dietetic assessment, explains Mayo Clinic. Physical therapy works by allowing an individual to improve and maintain the strength and flexibility of the body. If polymyositis affects the swallowing muscles, speech therapy may work to teach people to compensate for this weakness. As polymyositis continues to develop, swallowing and chewing may become difficult, so dietetic assessment with a dietitian is necessary to ensure foods are easy to eat.

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