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Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center (GARD)

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Myotonic dystrophy

Other Names for this Disease
  • Dystrophia myotonica
  • Myotonia atrophica
  • Myotonia dystrophica
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What treatment is available for for myotonic dystrophy?

There is currently no cure or specific treatment for myotonic dystrophy.[1][2] Treatment is aimed at managing symptoms and minimizing disability.[2] Routine physical activity appears to help maintain muscle strength and endurance and to control musculoskeletal pain.[3] Canes, braces, walkers and scooters can help as muscle weakness progresses.[1][2] There are also medications that can lessen the myotonia.[1] Pain management can be achieved through the use of mexilitene, gabapentin, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS), low-dose thyroid replacement, low-dose steroids (prednisone), and tricyclic antidepressants.[3][4] Other symptoms of myotonic dystrophy can also be treated.[1] Heart problems should be followed by a cardiologist, but may be managed through insertion of a pacemaker and regular monitoring of cardiac function.[1][2] Cataracts can be surgically corrected.[2]
Last updated: 3/12/2014

  1. Learning About Myotonic Dystrophy. National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI). March 2011; Accessed 7/15/2011.
  2. Facts About Myotonic Dystrophy. Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA). 2009; Accessed 7/15/2011.
  3. Dalton JC, Ranum LPW, Day JW. Myotonic Dystrophy Type 2. GeneReviews. April 2007; Accessed 7/15/2011.
  4. Bird TD. Myotonic Dystrophy Type 1. GeneReviews. February 2011; Accessed 7/15/2011.

Management Guidelines

  • GeneReviews provides current, expert-authored, peer-reviewed, full-text articles on myotonic dystrophy type 1 and myotonic dystrophy type 2. These articles describe the application of genetic testing to the diagnosis, management, and genetic counseling of patients with specific inherited conditions.

Clinical Trials & Research for this Disease

  • lists trials that are studying or have studied Myotonic dystrophy. Click on the link to go to to read descriptions of these studies.
  • The Research Portfolio Online Reporting Tool (RePORT) provides access to reports, data, and analyses of research activities at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), including information on NIH expenditures and the results of NIH-supported research. Although these projects may not conduct studies on humans, you may want to contact the investigators to learn more. To search for studies, click on the link and enter the disease name in the "Terms Search" box. Then click "Submit Query".