Inclusion Body Myositis

Inclusion body myositis (IBM) is an inflammatory muscle disease characterized by progressive muscle weakness and wasting. Patients suffering from IBM usually develop symptoms of IBM after age 50; however, some patients may present with symptoms as early as their 30’s. Patients typically develop difficulty in swallowing (dysphagia), weak wrists or fingers and atrophy of the forearms and/or thigh muscles.

Unlike other forms of myositis, IBM is approximately two times more common in men than in women.

Symptoms

  • muscle weakness often progresses slowly over months or years
  • weakness in the thighs, wrists and fingers
  • difficulty is swallowing (dysphagia)
  • patients may have a history of frequent falls

Diagnostic Tests

Your doctor will ask for a complete medical history and will perform a thorough physical examination.

Certain blood tests will be ordered and a muscle biopsy may be performed. The muscle biopsy is a minor procedure. A local anesthetic is applied and a small piece of muscle is removed – usually from a thigh muscle or shoulder muscle.

The biopsy is one of the critical diagnostic tests to determine whether you suffer from inclusion body myositis.

Treatment

If you have inclusion body myositis, your doctor may prescribe medications that suppress the immune system, such as corticosteroids. Unfortunately, however, many patients with inclusion body myositis do not respond as well to these medications as do patients with polymyositis or dermatomyositis.