Inclusion-Body Myositis (IBM)

Medical Management

Treatment with drugs that suppress the immune system has been tried in inclusion-body myositis (IBM) but in general hasn’t been effective. Some physicians may try corticosteroids or other medications that alter the immune response if the patient wishes this treatment, but many feel that side effects outweigh any subtle benefits that might occur with these drugs in IBM.


What causes inclusion-body myositis (IBM)?

In most cases, the cause of IBM is unclear. For some reason, the body’s immune system turns against its own muscles and damages muscle tissue in an autoimmune process.

Viruses might be a trigger for autoimmune myositis. People with the HIV virus, which causes AIDS, can develop a myositis, as can people with a virus called HTLV-1. Some myositis cases have followed infection with the Coxsackie B virus.


As with other muscle diseases, a doctor diagnoses inclusion-body myositis (IBM) by considering the individual’s personal history, family medical history and the results of a careful physical examination. This may be followed by some lab tests, perhaps of the electrical activity inside the muscles. Usually, a muscle biopsy is ordered.

Signs and Symptoms

Inclusion-body myositis (IBM) primarily affects men, although women can be affected. It occurs mainly in those older than 50.

IBM usually begins with the gradual onset of slowly progressive weakness in the muscles of the wrists and fingers, and those at the front of the thigh (quadriceps). The muscles that lift the front of the foot also may be affected. The weakness may not be the same on both sides of the body.


What is inclusion-body myositis (IBM)?

Muscles affected in IBM
The first muscles affected in inclusion-body myositis are usually those of the wrists and fingers, and the muscles at the front of the thigh. The muscles that lift the front of the foot also may be affected.

Inclusion-Body Myositis


MDA leads the search for treatments and therapies for inclusion-body myositis (IBM). The Association also provides comprehensive supports and expert clinical care for those living with IBM.

In this section, you’ll find up-to-date information about inclusion-body myositis, as well as many helpful resources. This information has been compiled with input from researchers, physicians and people affected by the disease.

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