Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy Treatment
- What It Is
- Risk Factors
- Living With
- User Questions
- Alternative Treatment
- Care Guide
- Questions for Your Doctor
- When to Contact a Doctor
- Find a Doctor
- Resource Guide
How to Treat Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy
Talk with your doctor about the best plan for your child. The disease worsens over time. Your child may need different treatments as the disease progresses. Options include the following:
Therapy plays a large role in treating DMD. Your child will work with a therapist to try to keep muscles strong.
The disease causes contractures. This is when a muscle shortens, making it difficult to move. The therapist will focus on preventing this with range of motion exercises.
Scoliosis is common in DMD. Exercises can help to keep the back as straight as possible.
Braces are used to keep the legs straight and prevent contractures. A walker and wheelchair may be needed later when the leg muscles become too weak to walk.
Your doctor may prescribe a steroid medication like prednisone. This can help to improve muscle strength and slow muscle weakening. Steroids can weaken bones. To keep bones healthy, your child will take vitamin D and calcium supplements. If your child experiences heart problems, he may be given certain medications to slow the damage.
As the disease progresses, the muscles that support breathing may weaken. Your child may need a ventilator. It will deliver air through a mask, tube, or sometimes through a tracheotomy (a surgical hole in the windpipe).
Surgery is sometimes used to treat symptoms of DMD. For severe contractures, surgery may be performed to release specific tendons. Scoliosis can sometimes interfere with your child's breathing. In this case, back surgery may be done.