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Getting the Right Dermatomyositis Treatment

Health Central reports on getting the right dermatomyositis treatment according to experts including David R. Fernandez, MD, PhD, rheumatologist at HSS. 

This autoimmune disease affects different people in different ways. That means treating your specific symptoms requires a targeted approach.

First, a deeper look at the disease. “Dermatomyositis is an autoimmune disease where the white blood cells of the immune system, which normally protect us from bacteria and viruses in the environment, mistakenly cause injury to the body instead,” explained Dr. Fernandez. You experience symptoms on your skin and in your muscles from this condition because that’s where rogue immune cells go on the attack, he adds, explaining that “the medicines we use to treat dermatomyositis generally blunt or block the immune system, which helps to control the disease.”

If you’re experiencing muscle weakness, your doctor will likely initially prescribe you a steroid which works by blocking the immune system response that can lead to muscle inflammation. “Steroids have very rapid and powerful effects on the immune system and are inexpensive, but they also have many side effects, including elevated blood sugar and blood pressure, mood changes, weight gain, and a decrease in bone density,” said Dr. Fernandez. 

“Recent years have seen a surge in clinical trials in dermatomyositis, as well,” observed Dr. Fernandez. “Until we have more formally approved options, clinical trials are also an important consideration for patients.”

Read the full article at healthcentral.com.