There is no known cure for myasthenia gravis. However, treatment may allow you to have prolonged periods without any symptoms (remission).
Lifestyle changes often help you continue your daily activities. The following may be recommended:
- Scheduling rest periods
- An eye patch if double vision is bothersome
- Avoiding stress and heat exposure, which can make symptoms worse
Medications that may be prescribed include:
- Neostigmine or pyridostigmine to improve the communication between the nerves and the muscles
- Prednisone and other medications (such as azathioprine, cyclosporine, or mycophenolate mofetil) if to suppress the immune system response, if you have severe symptoms and other medicines have not worked well
Several medications may make symptoms worse and should be avoided. Therefore, it is always important to check with your doctor about the safety of a medication before taking it.
Crisis situations, where muscle weakness involves the breathing muscles, may occur without warning with under- or overuse of medications. These attacks seldom last longer than a few weeks. Hospitalization and assistance with breathing may be required during these attacks. Often procedure called plasmapheresis is used to help end the crisis. In this technique, the clear part of the blood (plasma) containing the antibodies is removed from the body and replaced with donated, antibody-free plasma or with other fluids.
Plasmapheresis may also help reduce symptoms for 4 - 6 weeks and is often used before surgery. Intravenous immunoglobulin infusions may work as well as plasmapheresis. In this technique, a large amount of helpful antibodies are given directly into the bloodstream.
Surgery to remove the thymus (thymectomy) may result in permanent remission or less need for medicines, especially when there is a tumor present.
Patients with eye problems may try lens prisms to improve vision. Surgery may also be performed on the eye muscles.