Treatment for Myasthenia Gravis

As there is no known cure for myasthenia gravis, different treatment approaches are aimed towards management of symptoms and longer periods of remission. Treatment for Myasthenia Gravis generally includes:

  • Lifestyle changes such as taking frequents rest breaks, wearing an eye patch if double vision is bothering you, and avoiding heat exposure and stress that can aggravate symptoms.
  • Anticholinesterase medication such as Neostigmine or pyridostigmine is prescribed to encourage normal transmission between nerves and muscles.
  • Medications such as prednisone are taken to suppress the immune system response. This is only prescribed if other medications have not worked or if the symptoms are too severe.
  • If a myasthenic crisis develops and the patient suffers breathing problems, hospitalization and external assistance may be required. In such cases, a radical procedure known as “plasmapheresis” is performed to end the crisis. Here the plasma in the blood that contains the antibodies is removed and replaced with plasma that is free of any antibodies.
  • Intravenous immunoglobulin infusions where helpful antibodies are introduced into the bloodstream can also help reduce symptoms of the disease.
  • A “thymectomy” (A surgery performed to remove the thymus) can lead to long-term or permanent remission. This has the most successful results if a tumor is present. A thymectomy may also help balance out the immune system and remedy the condition.
  • Surgeries of the eye muscles may be performed when eye problems become unmanageable.
Depending on the severity of the symptoms and which muscles are affected, your doctor will decide on the best course of treatment on a case-to-case basis.