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What are the treatments for polymyositis?

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Treatments for polymyositis include medications and physical therapy. As of 2015, there is no cure for polymyositis, an inflammatory disease that causes muscle weakness, but these treatments can offer relief from painful symptoms and improve muscle strength, according to Mayo Clinic.

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A medication available to treat polymyositis is prednisone, a corticosteroid that is very effective in controlling symptoms of the disease, but prolonged use of this drug causes serious side effects. Corticosteroid-sparing agent drugs can be used in combination with corticosteroids to lessen their dose and side effects while still providing adequate control of polymyositis symptoms. Two of these drugs are azathioprine and methotrexate. Another drug used when the initial treatments do not control symptoms of the disease enough is rituximab, Mayo Clinic states.

Physical therapy is an important treatment of polymyositis to strengthen the muscles in a gradual manner. A combination of exercise with range of motion for arms and legs is tailored for each patient, depending on the severity of the symptoms. The degree of the exercises performed is increased as the patient improves his movement capability, explains MedicineNet.

Most patients do well with physical therapy when paired with early medical treatment. To ensure optimal results, an ongoing exercise program is required to rehabilitate atrophied muscles and keep them strong. It is also suggested that people affected with polymyositis closely monitor for other serious diseases, such as cancer, heart and lung disease, MedicineNet states.

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