While no treatments for myasthenia gravis can cure the disorder, advances in therapy usually control symptoms sufficiently for people to lead relatively normal lives. Neurologists focus on improving overall muscle function, preventing severe respiratory problems and avoiding nutritional issues related to problems chewing and swallowing. Early detection helps assure better outcomes in managing this lifelong condition.
Treatment Options for Myasthenia Gravis
- Medications such as anticholinesterase drugs and immunosuppressive drugs interfere with the production of abnormal antibodies that block neurotransmitters
- Short courses of corticosteroids like methylprednisolone have been shown to help
- Plasmapheresis replaces abnormal antibodies in the blood with normal antibodies obtained from donated blood
- Intravenous immune globulin uses normal antibodies from donated blood to create a temporary modification of the immune - this treatment is still experimental.
- Thymectomy is a surgery that removes the thymus gland altering the immune system and reducing symptoms for more than 70 percent of affected people
People with myasthenia gravis should perform activities as independently as possible, scheduling rest periods as needed. Families should become aware of problems that require emergency medical attention such as severe respiratory distress. Lifelong monitoring through regular medical evaluations is important to effectively managing myasthenia gravis and avoiding possibly fatal complications.