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Various myasthenia gravis treatment methods you can try

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  • Currently, there is no known cure for myasthenia gravis. Instead, treatment focuses on helping relieve the symptoms, allowing you to maintain a normal quality of life
  • In life-threatening cases of myasthenia gravis (difficulty breathing and swallowing), intravenous methods may be required to remove specific antibodies in your system to provide immediate relief

Currently, there is no known cure for myasthenia gravis. Instead, treatment focuses on helping relieve the symptoms, allowing you to maintain a normal quality of life. You will need to make changes to your routine and your home to accommodate your condition as well. Below are several home remedies you can implement:1,2

  • Change your eating habits — Myasthenia gravis can affect your jaw muscles, making it hard for you to chew food. Try to detect when symptoms subside, and use the regained strength to eat healthy food. You may need to eat smaller meals throughout the day, so it is best that you eat foods that are easy to chew. Tilt your head in different ways to find what works best when swallowing.
  • Wear an eye patch — Myasthenia gravis can cause double vision if your eyelids experience weakness. To counter this problem, you may opt to wear an eye patch to restore normal vision. Switch the patch to the other side every now and then to help reduce eye strain.
  • Make modifications to your home — If you have generalized myasthenia gravis, you can install railings or bars to help support your weight as you move around your home. You may also want to remove slippery items on the floor (rugs and carpets) to help keep your grip while walking.
  • Take advantage of electric appliances more often — Certain routines and chores such as brushing your teeth and preparing your food require a certain amount of physical effort. You can conserve your energy by using appliances such as electric toothbrushes or food processors.
  • Plan ahead — Try to do errands and other important activities when you have plenty of energy and muscle control. This will help you maximize productivity before the symptoms appear again.

Surgery may be needed, if other treatments do not work

Your doctor may require surgery to remove your thymus gland, especially if it has developed a tumor. However, there are some instances where you may not have a tumor, but the gland will still need to be removed. Either way, this procedure is known as a thymectomy.3

Before undergoing a thymectomy, you must discuss with your doctor the benefits and potential downsides first. If your symptoms are restricted to your ocular system, surgery is not recommended.4 Should you opt for surgery, there are two minimally invasive procedures available:5

  • Video-assisted thymectomy — In this procedure, a surgeon will make an incision in your neck and insert a video endoscope and instruments to remove the thymus gland. Alternatively, the surgeon may make incisions on the side of your chest and insert the endoscope and the instruments there.
  • Robot-assisted thymectomy — Similar to video-assisted thymectomy, small incisions will be made on the side of your chest, wherein a robot equipped with a camera and mechanical arms will remove the thymus gland.

Intravenous procedures for life-threatening situations

In life-threatening cases of myasthenia gravis (difficulty breathing), intravenous methods may be required to remove specific antibodies in your system to provide immediate relief. Two intravenous methods commonly used to treat myasthenia gravis include:6

  • Plasmapheresis — In this procedure, your blood is routed to a machine designed to remove the plasma from the red blood cells. The plasma contains antibodies, and is removed from your system to help alleviate myasthenia gravis. Positive changes may be seen within days upon undertaking this procedure, according to the Muscular Dystrophy Association.7
  • Intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG) — Patients may be administered immunoglobulin to help manage symptoms. According to a study published in Clinical & Experimental Immunology, IVIG is used as a second option if plasma replacement doesn’t work.8
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Medications that should be avoided

During the course of your recovery, you may be prescribed certain medications to treat conditions not related to myasthenia gravis. However, this is not advised, because there’s a chance that these medications may worsen your condition. The drugs listed below are known to exacerbate myasthenia gravis:9

  • Antibiotics such as telithromycin and fluoroquinolones
  • Corticosteroids
  • D-penicillamine
  • Procainamide
  • Statins
  • Immune checkpoint inhibitors used for cancer treatment

If taking any one of these is absolutely necessary due to critical situations, always discuss your prescriptions with your doctor to determine the best choices to minimize possible side effects. In addition, if you need to take an antibiotic, be sure to consume a high-quality probiotic food or supplement a few hours before or after taking the antibiotic. This will help keep your beneficial gut bacteria at an optimal ratio.

Learn More About Myasthenia Gravis

Myasthenia Gravis: Introduction

What Is Myasthenia Gravis?

Myasthenia Gravis Symptoms

Myasthenia Gravis Causes

Myasthenia Gravis Types

Myasthenia Gravis Diagnosis

Myasthenia Gravis Treatment

Myasthenia Gravis Prevention

Myasthenia Gravis Diet

Myasthenia Gravis FAQ

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