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Inflammatory Myopathies

What are Inflammatory Myopathies?

Myopathy is the medical term for diseases of the muscles. Inflammatory myopathies are rare diseases where the immune system causes inflammation (swelling) in the muscles resulting in weakness. Polymyositis. dermatomyositis and necrotizing autoimmune myopathy are some examples of inflammatory myopathies. In dermatomyositis, the skin is also involved. Inflammatory myopathies are sometimes associated with other illnesses such as other autoimmune diseases, infections or cancers.

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Our Approach

At UR Medicine, our experienced team will provide diagnostic testing, education, physical activity programs, and an individualized treatment plan. We will We also help you coordinate the appointments you need for lab work, x-rays, and other tests.

Evaluation and Diagnosis

One of our rheumatologists will perform a comprehensive evaluation including a review of you medical history, physical exam, and blood work. Other tests are often needed as well and may include an ultrasound of the muscles (done right in our office), and electromyography or EMG which can measure the electrical impulses in the muscle and a biopsy. A biopsy is a procedure where a tiny piece of muscle is obtained to look at under the microscope.

Treatments

Medications

  • Glucocorticoids: These medications decrease inflammation and work quickly. 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 IV (in a vein). Prednisone is an example.
  • 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 as well. Examples include steroid creams and topical tacrolimus which is an immune suppressing medication.
  • Other treatments: In severe cases, your doctor may recommend other treatments which are safe but less commonly used.

Lifestyle Management

  • Staying Active: It is 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. UR Medicine Physical Therapy.
  • Healthy Eating: Food choices alone cannot treat symptoms. However, the right combination of different foods can help you feel your best overall 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 our UR Medicine Improve Nutrition Program.
  • Avoiding Sun Exposure: People with dermatomyositis should avoid sun exposure as it can worsen the rash. Sunscreen should be used and UV protective clothing can be helpful as well.

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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.

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Our Providers

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UR Medicine Rheumatology Locations

Phone: (585) 486-0901
Fax: (585) 340-5399

Rochester
125 Lattimore Road, Suite G-110
Rochester, NY 14620
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Henrietta
400 Red Creek Drive, Suite 240
Rochester, NY 14623
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Canandaigua
Thompson Professional Building
395 West Street, Suite 007
Canandaigua, NY 14424
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Patient Education and Support

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

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Clinical Research

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

To learn about participating in a clinical trial, see our Clinical Trials and Research Studies or contact us at AIR_Research_info@urmc.rochester.edu.

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