Learning & Treating Dermatomyositis

Learning & Treating Dermatomyositis

Dermatology is filled with some crazy long words, and here’s one of them: dermatomyositis. Not the easiest one to pronounce, and certainly not a condition that’s easy to have. Today, we’ll take a look at what it is, and current developments working towards its treatment.

Dermatomyositis is essentially an uncommon, inflammatory autoimmune disease of the muscle. This is usually marked by muscle weakness, as well as a distinctive skin rash. This is a very difficult disease to grapple with, as there is no known cure given that it is an autoimmune disease.

However, a new study sheds some light on a helpful, improved treatment approach. This research tested 139 patients in 22 countries with new onset dermatomyositis with a course of treatment that either involved steroids alone or steroids combined with immunosuppressants.

The results were promising for the latter - the combination of steroids and immunosuppressants proved to be quite effective. In addition to having no treatment failure, it was found that using steroids alone resulted in negative effects on the skin, tissues and the gastrointestinal system. However, while infections were significantly increased in all combinations, they were significantly less for the steroid and immunosuppressant combination.

While this is promising, we do know that it is not an easy treatment to handle and it could be difficult for some patients to go through. But we are certainly willing to try treatments that show promise for aiding autoimmune diseases, and we look forward to seeing what this combination will do for our patients.


If you are concerned about dermatomyositis and want to speak to a provider about your options, please visit our Dermatology specialists at one of our locations in Middle Tennessee: Nashville, Franklin, Columbia, and Pulaski.

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Dr Pena

About The Author

Dr. Pena is a Board-Certified Medical Dermatologist, Mohs skin cancer surgeon, and cosmetic dermatologist. Her mission is to educate the diverse patient populations she serves, and their communities, on the importance of skin care in decreasing the risk of skin cancer and minimizing the early signs of aging. She founded Skin Solutions Dermatology with numerous clinics in Nashville, Tennessee and surrounding Middle Tennessee.

Dr. Julia Pena, MD