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Inflammatory Myopathies

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What are Inflammatory Myopathies?

Myopathy refers to diseases of the muscles. Inflammatory myopathies are rare diseases where the immune system causes swelling in the muscles, leading to weakness. Different types include polymyositis and dermatomyositis. In dermatomyositis, the skin is also affected. Inflammatory myopathies are sometimes associated with other illnesses such as other autoimmune diseases, infections, or cancers.

UR Medicine's Treatments for Inflammatory Myopathies

Our experienced team will provide diagnostic testing, education, physical activity programs, and an individualized treatment plan. We will also help you coordinate the appointments you need for lab work and other tests.

Since these diseases can affect more than just the muscles and can be associated with other diseases, more than one specialist may be involved in diagnosing and managing your illness. This may include a rheumatologist (autoimmune disease), neurologist (muscles), and dermatologist (skin).

Your provider will review your medical history, physical exam, and blood work. Other tests are often needed, such as ultrasound of the muscles (done in our office).

Treatments Include:

  • Glucocorticoids: These medications, such as prednisone, work quickly to decrease inflammation. They are often one of the first medications prescribed but have side effects when used for a long time. They can be given orally or through an IV in a vein.
  • Disease Modifying Anti-Rheumatic Drugs (DMARDs): These medications suppress the immune system. They allow a lower dose of glucocorticoids to be used and provide long term control. Examples include methotrexate and azathioprine.
  • Topical Medications: People with dermatomyositis may need topical medications for their skin, such steroid creams and topical tacrolimus (an immune-suppressing medication).
  • Other treatments: In severe cases, your doctor may recommend other treatments which are safe but less commonly used.

Lifestyle Improvements Include:

  • Staying Active: It’s important for people with inflammatory myopathies to remain active. Physical therapy can maintain the strength of the muscles and improve range of motion. UR Medicine physical therapists can also work with you to devise an exercise regimen that is best for you. Learn how UR Medicine Physical Therapy can help.
  • Healthy Eating: Food choices alone cannot treat symptoms, but the right combination of different foods can help you feel your best and maintain a healthy weight. Foods rich in omega-3s and antioxidants may help control inflammation. UR Medicine nutritionists can help you develop a diet plan that works best for you. Learn about the UR Medicine Improve Nutrition Program.
  • Avoiding Sun Exposure: People with dermatomyositis should avoid sun exposure, as it can worsen the rash. Sunscreen and UV-protective clothing can help.

What Sets Us Apart?

Because we’re the only academic medical center in the region, our team of clinicians is involved in discovering better treatments through research and clinical trials. Our experts have won national awards and have published their work in prestigious, peer-reviewed journals.

We center our care on you and your needs, relieving your symptoms, and keeping you healthy.


Our care team is here for you. Find a UR Medicine expert and get care now.

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We serve you in the Rochester metropolitan area and surrounding region.

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3 locations

Allergy, Immunology, & Rheumatology - Rochester

Lattimore Medical Center
125 Lattimore Road, Suite G-110
Rochester, NY 14620

Allergy, Immunology & Rheumatology - Canandaigua

Thompson Professional Building
395 West Street, Suite 007
Canandaigua, NY 14424

Rheumatology Clinic - Henrietta

Red Creek (Calkins Corporate Park)
400 Red Creek Drive, Suite 240
Rochester, NY 14623

Patient Education & Support

If you have questions about your illness or medications, ask your doctor. You may also find these websites helpful:

Clinical Trials

Our researchers are studying new medications to improve treatment and quality of life of people with inflammatory myopathies. You may wish to help others by participating in a clinical study while receiving the newest treatment available.

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