Home HealthTopics Health Centers Reference Library Research
Join us on Facebook Join us on Facebook Share on Facebook
Print this pageEMail this page

Myasthenia Gravis

What should I know about treatments for Myasthenia Gravis?

  1. Will I feel weak after I start taking medications?
  2. Why would a patient not respond to treatment?
  3. What treatments are used when Myasthenia Gravis is severe?
  4. How can I find out about clinical trials on medications?
  5. What kind of decisions does a doctor go through when choosing which drugs to use?

    Will I feel weak after I start taking medications?

    Patients may continue to feel weak despite medications. The goal of treatment is to improve strength, but this may take time. Medications like Cellcept, cyclosporine or Imuran may take months to work. Mestinon often does not return strength to normal. You may need to discuss whether there has been adequate time for treatments to improve your strength or whether other medications need to be used with your neurologist.

    Why would a patient not respond to treatment?

    There are several reasons this could occur.

    What treatments are used when Myasthenia Gravis is severe?

    The best treatments for severe symptoms are plasmapheresis, steroids in high doses, and IVIG. The initial response can be slow (taking months). Most patients with MG do eventually respond. Also, other medications like Cellcept, azathioprine (Imuran), and cyclosporine often need to be started. These take months to work but eventually allow patients to be treated with lower doses of prednisone.

    How can I find out about clinical trials on medications?

    This information can be found through the National Institutes of Health at http://clinicaltrials.gov/.

    What kind of decisions does a doctor go through when choosing which drugs to use?

    Every time a physician uses a drug, benefits and risks have to be weighed. I look at each case individually and each choice of medication in this way.

    For more information on thymectomy, click here.

    For more information on alternative treatments for myasthenia gravis, click here.

    For more information:

    Go to the Myasthenia Gravis health topic, where you can:

    Last Reviewed: Dec 29, 2003

    Henry J Kaminski, MD Henry J Kaminski, MD
    Formerly, Professor of Neurology
    School of Medicine
    Case Western Reserve University