Managing Myasthenia Gravis

Myasthenia Gravis is a condition that affects the nervous system and can result in significant muscle weakness. It occurs when a substance called acetylcholine in the brain is destroyed by the body’s own immune system. Acetylcholine is responsible for transmitting signals from the brain that control muscle movement. Other symptoms of the disease may include blurred vision and difficulty swallowing.

Prescription medications to treat the disorder include anticholinesterase agents such as pyridostigmine (Mestinon). These agents work by preventing the destruction of acetylcholine in the body and improve muscle strength and function. Treatment with corticosteroids such as prednisone (Deltasone) suppress the immune system and also may prevent the breakdown of acetylcholine. If these therapies are unsuccessful, a surgical procedure to remove the thymus (thymectomy) can significantly reduce symptoms. The thymus is an organ that regulates the immune system and is often found to be abnormal in many individuals with myasthenia gravis.