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February 1979

Prednisone Use in Concurrent Autoimmune Diseases: Treatment of a Patient With Myasthenia Gravis, Hyperthyroidism, and Polymyositis

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Neurology, Baylor College of Medicine, Texas Medical Center, Houston.

Arch Neurol. 1979;36(2):103-106. doi:10.1001/archneur.1979.00500380073009

• A 40-year-old woman with clinical and laboratory features of myasthenia gravis, hyperthyroidism, and polymyositis responded to treatment with prednisone alone. Symptoms of myasthenia gravis appeared first followed by hyperthyroid symptoms. Triiodothyronine, thyroxine, and thyroid uptake were elevated as were serum levels of CPK, SGOT, SGPT, and LDH. Muscle biopsy specimen showed mild type II fiber atrophy and a small focus of inflammatory cells.

Two weeks after initiation of prednisone, 100 mg every other day, the ESR declined from 44 to 12 mm/hr, serum enzyme values became normal, and the weakness improved. Over the ensuing four months, the thyroid function values returned to normal and the patient no longer needed any anticholinesterase drug. At present, she is functionally normal except for mild defects in eye movement and she takes no medication.

Physicians should consider treating patients who have several concurrent autoimmune diseases with prednisone to see if all conditions can be brought under control with one simple therapy.