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Removal of an underlying tumour may produce some improvement of the muscle weakness in adult dermatomyositis, though this is often only temporary.

Systemic steroids may provide relief - prednisolone is the drug of choice - initially at 20-60 mg/day, then reduced to maintenance doses. Systemic azathioprine 150 mg/day may be used alone or as a steroid-sparing agent. Physical rest during active disease should be considered since bed rest produces a significant fall in enzyme levels.

Methrotrexate may be tried if corticosteroids are unsuccessful.

Last reviewed 01/2018