Sign Up for a Free Account
  • Updated 02.28.2024
  • Released 09.14.1995
  • Expires For CME 02.28.2027



Historical note and terminology

Dermatomyositis is one of the five main clinicopathologically distinct inflammatory myopathies, the other four being (1) polymyositis, (based on the historical classification, even if now seemingly extinct), (2) necrotizing autoimmune myositis, (3) overlap myositis and the antisynthetase syndromes, and (4) inclusion-body myositis (24). Although it may have been recognized earlier by Wagner (144), the first definitive description of dermatomyositis was reported by Unverricht in 1891 (142). Before the extensive use of immunosuppressive drugs, dermatomyositis was the cause of considerable disability and mortality, especially in children. During the last 20 to 30 years, extensive use of these drugs and a better understanding of the immunopathology of the disease have significantly improved the prognosis. Dermatomyositis, a disease affecting skin and muscle, is cared for not only by neurologists but also by dermatologists and, currently, most often by rheumatologists. However, the role of the neurologist remains essential to exclude other neuromuscular diseases associated with skin abnormalities, to substantiate the presence and degree of muscle weakness, to confirm the immunopathology of the disease, and to supervise the immunotherapeutic interventions. In children with dermatomyositis with muscle weakness as the major symptom, the pediatric neurologist is often consulted early in the disease and usually becomes the primary physician caring for these children.

This is an article preview.
Start a Free Account
to access the full version.

  • Nearly 3,000 illustrations, including video clips of neurologic disorders.

  • Every article is reviewed by our esteemed Editorial Board for accuracy and currency.

  • Full spectrum of neurology in 1,200 comprehensive articles.

  • Listen to MedLink on the go with Audio versions of each article.

Questions or Comment?

MedLink®, LLC

3525 Del Mar Heights Rd, Ste 304
San Diego, CA 92130-2122

Toll Free (U.S. + Canada): 800-452-2400

US Number: +1-619-640-4660



ISSN: 2831-9125