Myositis treatment varies according to the cause. Typically myositis treatment is a combination of medication, rest, and exercise or physical therapy in the recovery phase. If inflammatory conditions such as lupus are the cause, treatment of the underlying disease may be helpful; if not, corticosteroid drugs that suppress the immune system are used. For polymyositis and dermatomyositis, doctors usually begin treatment with a corticosteroid drug. If this fails, disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs) are used. In patients for whom none of these treatments work, immunoglobulin injections from blood donors are an option. There is no effective treatment for inclusion body myositis, although corticosteroid treatment and immune-suppressing therapies are helpful in some people.
Myositis caused by the flu is not treated on its own, as it typically passes once the flu is resolved. These patients should rest and get plenty of fluids, or try nonprescription medicines for fever and muscle aches. If myositis is caused by trichinosis, doctors administer antibiotics that kill the parasite. For pyomyositis, in which Staphylococcus (“staph”) bacteria invade a muscle, the abscess is sometimes drained from the muscle with a needle while antibiotics are given to fight the infection. In patients whose myositis is caused by a medication, doctors will discontinue the medication and sometimes prescribe a corticosteroid to speed recovery.
Corticosteroids that suppress the immune system such as prednisone, azathioprine and methotrexate are commonly used to treat myositis as a way to slow the immune system’s attack on healthy tissues. Over the counter pain relievers such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and aspirin may help relieve pain. For polymyositis and dermatomyositis, doctors usually begin treatment with a corticosteroid drug, such as prednisone. If this fails, methotrexate (commonly used to treat some forms of arthritis) or azathioprine may be added. In patients for whom none of these treatments work, immunoglobulin injections from blood donors are used. There is no effective treatment for inclusion body myositis, although corticosteroid treatment and immunosuppressive therapies are helpful in some people.