Classification and external resources
Specialty Rheumatology
ICD-10 G71-G72, M60-M63
ICD-9-CM 359.4-359.9, 728-728
DiseasesDB 8723
eMedicine emerg/328
Patient UK Myopathy
MeSH D009135

Myopathy is a muscular disease[1] in which the muscle fibers do not function for any one of many reasons, resulting in muscular weakness. "Myopathy" simply means muscle disease (myo- Greek μυο "muscle" + pathos -pathy Greek "suffering"). This meaning implies that the primary defect is within the muscle, as opposed to the nerves ("neuropathies" or "neurogenic" disorders) or elsewhere (e.g., the brain etc.). Muscle cramps, stiffness, and spasm can also be associated with myopathy.

Capture Myopathy, or Shock Disease, is a little-studied condition observed in wild animals such as hares and birds that have been captured or handled. The condition is usually lethal and stress has been identified as the single most determining factor, exacerbated by muscle exertion.

Muscular disease can be classified as neuromuscular or musculoskeletal in nature. Some conditions, such as myositis, can be considered both neuromuscular and musculoskeletal.

Signs and symptoms

Common muscle weakness, cramps, stiffness, and tetany.

Systemic diseases

Myopathies in systemic disease results from several different disease processes including endocrine, inflammatory, paraneoplastic, infectious, drug- and toxin-induced, critical illness myopathy, metabolic, collagen related,[2] and myopathies with other systemic disorders. Patients with systemic myopathies often present acutely or sub acutely. On the other hand, familial myopathies or dystrophies generally present in a chronic fashion with exceptions of metabolic myopathies where symptoms on occasion can be precipitated acutely. Most of the inflammatory myopathies can have a chance association with malignant lesions; the incidence appears to be specifically increased only in patients with dermatomyositis.[3]

There are many types of myopathy. ICD-10 codes are provided here where available.

Inherited forms


The Food and Drug Administration is recommending that physicians restrict prescribing high-dose Simvastatin (Zocor, Merck) to patients, given an increased risk of muscle damage. The FDA drug safety communication stated that physicians should limit using the 80-mg dose unless the patient has already been taking the drug for 12 months and there is no evidence of myopathy. "Simvastatin 80 mg should not be started in new patients, including patients already taking lower doses of the drug," the agency states.

Differential diagnosis

Myopathies presenting at birth:- None as systemic causes; mainly hereditary

Myopathies presenting in childhood:-

Inflammatory myopathies – dermatomyositis, polymyositis (rarely)

Infectious myopathies

Endocrine and metabolic disorders – hypokalemia, hypocalcemia, hypercalcemia

Myopathies presenting in adulthood[5]

Inflammatory myopathies – polymyositis, dermatomyositis, inclusion body myositis, viral (HIV)

Infectious myopathies

Endocrine myopathies – thyroid, parathyroid, adrenal, pituitary disorders

Toxic myopathies – alcohol, corticosteroids, narcotics, colchicines, chloroquine

Critical illness myopathy

Metabolic myopathies

Paraneoplastic myopathy


Because different types of myopathies are caused by many different pathways, there is no single treatment for myopathy. Treatments range from treatment of the symptoms to very specific cause-targeting treatments. Drug therapy, physical therapy, bracing for support, surgery, and massage are all current treatments for a variety of myopathies.


  1. "Myopathy - Definition from the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary".
  2. Template:Name = Voermans NC1, van Alfen N, Pillen S, Lammens M, Schalkwijk J, Zwarts MJ, van Rooij IA, Hamel BC, van Engelen BG.
  3. Chawla, Jasvinder (2011). "Stepwise Approach to Myopathy in Systemic Disease". Frontiers in Neurology. Front Neurol. 2011; 2: 49. 2: 49. doi:10.3389/fneur.2011.00049. PMC 3153853Freely accessible. PMID 21886637.
  4. Seene T (July 1994). "Turnover of skeletal muscle contractile proteins in glucocorticoid myopathy". J. Steroid Biochem. Mol. Biol. 50 (1–2): 1–4. doi:10.1016/0960-0760(94)90165-1. PMID 8049126.
  5. Chawla, Myopathy (2011). "Systemic Myopathy". Frontiers in Neurology. 2: 49. doi:10.3389/fneur.2011.00049. PMC 3153853Freely accessible. PMID 21886637.
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