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Myasthenia Gravis

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There is no way to prevent or cure myasthenia gravis (MG), but its symptoms can be managed and most of those affected can lead normal or near-normal lives. The most significant complication, a myasthenic crisis that affects a person's ability to breathe, must be treated as a medical emergency and frequently requires hospitalization.

Management of MG may include:

  • Acetylcholine esterase (AChE) inhibitors/Cholinesterase inhibitors—drugs that improve nerve and muscle communication and improve muscle strength by increasing the amount of acetylcholine at the neuromuscular junction; primary treatment for MG.
  • Thymectomy— the surgical removal of the thymus gland; may be performed when a thymoma (generally benign tumor of the thymus) is present. This can reduce symptoms and, in some cases, may resolve them.

Other types of treatments are available to manage MG, to suppress the immune response and/or remove or block autoantibodies in the blood. For additional details on these, visit the Treatment for MG page on the Myasthenia Gravis Foundation of America web site.

Newborns that acquire MG symptoms from their mothers must be closely monitored for a couple of weeks until the influence of the mothers' antibodies subsides.

A person's treatment needs will vary over time. Those affected should work closely with their healthcare provider to determine the treatments appropriate for their changing health status.

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