What causes dermatomyositis?

The cause of this disorder is unknown. It is theorized that an autoimmune reaction (reactions caused by an immune response against the body's own tissues) or a viral infection of the skeletal muscle may cause the disease. In addition, some doctors think certain people may have a genetic susceptibility to the disease.

Last updated on 05-01-20

What is the prognosis for individuals with dermatomyositis?

Most cases of dermatomyositis respond to therapy. Some people may recover and have symptoms completely disappear. This is more common in children. In adults, death may result from severe and prolonged muscle weakness, malnutrition, pneumonia, or lung failure. The outcome is usually worse if the heart or lungs are involved.

Last updated on 05-01-20

How is dermatomyositis treated?

While there is no cure for dermatomyositis, the symptoms can be treated. Options include medication, physical therapy, exercise, heat therapy (including microwave and ultrasound), orthotics and assistive devices, and rest. The standard treatment for dermatomyositis is a corticosteroid drug, given either in pill form or intravenously. Immunosuppressant drugs, such as azathioprine and methotrexate, may reduce inflammation in people who do not respond well to prednisone. Periodic treatment using intravenous immunoglobulin can also improve recovery. Other immunosuppressive agents used to treat the inflammation associated with dermatomyositis include cyclosporine A, cyclophosphamide, and tacrolimus. Physical therapy is usually recommended to prevent muscle atrophy and to regain muscle strength and range of motion. Many individuals with dermatomyositis may need a topical ointment, such as topical corticosteroids, for their skin disorder. They should wear a high-protection sunscreen and protective clothing. Surgery may be required to remove calcium deposits that cause nerve pain and recurrent infections.

Last updated on 05-01-20

Selected Full-Text Journal Articles

Dermatomyositis - American Family Physician

Koler RA, Montemarano A. Dermatomyositis. American Family Physician. 2001; 64: 1565-72. Available at: Accessed November 4, 2009.

Last updated on 04-27-20

Name: The Myositis Association TMA 1940 Duke Street Suite 200
Alexandria, VA, 22314, United States
Phone: +1-703-299-4850 Toll Free: 1-800-821-7356 Fax : +1-703-535-6752 Email: Url:
Name: American Autoimmune Related Diseases Association (AARDA) 22100 Gratiot Avenue
Eastpointe, MI, 48021, United States
Phone: 586-776-3900 Toll Free: 800-598-4668 Fax : 586-776-3903 Email: Url:
Name: Myositis Support and Understanding 9125 N. Old State Road
Lincoln, DE, 19960, United States
Phone: +1-302-339-3241 Toll Free: 1-888-MYO-RARE (696-7273) Email: Url:
Name: Cure JM Foundation P.O. Box 45768
Baltimore, MD, 21297,
Phone: (760) 487-1079 Email: Url:
Name: Myositis UK 146 Newtown Road Woolston
Southampton SO19 9HR
United Kingdom
Phone: 023 8044 9708 Email: Url:

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