Drugs Information Online
Drugs and diseases reference index

Drugs and diseases reference index
Search
EN

Diseases reference index «Myotonia congenita»

Myotonia congenita is an inherited condition that affects muscle relaxation. It is congenital, meaning that it is present from birth.

Causes

Myotonia congenita is caused by a genetic change (mutation). It is passed down from either one or both parents to the children (inherited).

Myotonia congenita is caused by a problem in the part of the muscle cells that are needed for muscles to relax. Abnormal repeated electrical discharges occur in the muscles, causing a stiffness called myotonia.

Symptoms

The hallmark of this condition is the myotonia -- the inability of the muscle to quickly relax after contracting. For example, after a handshake, the person is only very slowly able to open and pull away his hand.

Early symptoms may include:

  • Difficulty in swallowing
  • Gagging
  • Stiff movements that improve when they are repeated
  • Shortness of breath or tightening of the chest at the beginning of exercise

Children with myotonia congenita often appear to be muscular and well-developed. The child may not have symptoms of myotonia congenita until age 2 or 3.

Exams and Tests

The doctor may ask if there is a family history of myotonia congenita.

Tests include:

  • Genetic testing
  • Muscle biopsy
  • Test of the electrical activity in muscles (EMG)

Treatment

Treatment for symptoms includes:

  • Mexiletine
  • Phenytoin
  • Procainamide

Outlook (Prognosis)

People with this condition can do well. Symptoms only occur when a movement is first started. After a few repetitions, the muscle relaxes and the movement becomes normal. Symptoms may improve later in life.

Possible Complications

  • Aspiration pneumonia caused by swallowing difficulties
  • Frequent choking, gagging, or difficulty swallowing in an infant
  • Abdominal muscle weakness
  • Chronic joint problems

When to Contact a Medical Professional

Call your health care provider if your child has symptoms of myotonia congenita.

Prevention

Genetic counseling may be of interest to couples who want to have children and have a family history of myotonia congenita.

Alternative Names

Thomsen's disease; Becker's disease

Comment «Myotonia congenita»