Diseases Home > Treatment for Myasthenia Gravis

Medication, thymectomy, and high-dose intravenous immune globulin can be used as myasthenia gravis treatment. Up to 20 percent of people with myasthenia gravis will have complete remission without any treatment, and another 20 percent may improve completely. People who undergo one of the options discussed in this article usually see a significant improvement in their symptoms and can expect to lead normal or nearly normal lives.

An Introduction to Treatment for Myasthenia Gravis

In most people, myasthenia gravis can be controlled. Several different therapies are available to help reduce and improve the symptom of muscle weakness. Most people will have good results with treatment.
 
According to the Muscular Dystrophy Association, up to 20 percent of people will have complete remission (a period of time without symptoms) without any myasthenia gravis treatment, and another 20 percent may improve completely without treatment. These spontaneous improvements are more likely to occur during early stages of the disease.
 
Treatment for myasthenia gravis may include:
 
  • Medications
  • Thymectomy
  • Plasmapheresis or plasma exchange
  • High-dose intravenous immune globulin.
 
Medications
Medications that are used to treat myasthenia gravis include anticholinesterase agents such as neostigmine and pyridostigmine. These medications help to improve neuromuscular transmission and increase muscle strength. Immunosuppressive drugs such as prednisone, cyclosporine, and azathioprine may also be used. These medications improve muscle strength by suppressing the production of abnormal antibodies. It is important to note that these medications must be used with careful medical follow-up because they may cause serious side effects.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last updated/reviewed:
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