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Myasthenic Crisis


A myasthenic crisis is a severe form of myasthenia gravis. It is a life-threatening condition that happens if the muscles you use for breathing become very weak. It can cause severe breathing problems and lead to lung failure.



  • Anticholinesterase medicine: This medicine helps improve energy and strength.
  • Immunosuppressives: Steroid medicine or other immunosuppressive medicine is used to slow down your immune system and slow the progression of myasthenia gravis.
  • Take your medicine as directed. Contact your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him or her if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.

Follow up with your healthcare provider or neurologist as directed:

Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

Breathing treatments:

You use a machine to help you breathe in medicine during a breathing treatment. These treatments may help open your airways so you can breathe easier. At first, you may need breathing treatments often. As you get better, you may only need the treatments when you are having trouble breathing.

Breathing exercises:

  • Diaphragmatic breathing: These exercises can help strengthen the muscles you use to breathe.
    • Place one hand on your stomach just below your ribs. Place your other hand in the middle of your chest.
    • Breathe in slowly through your nose, as deeply as you can so that your stomach moves out against your hand. Your chest should not move.
    • Breathe out slowly through pursed lips. As you do so, tighten the muscles in your stomach. Use your hand to gently push in and up while tightening the muscles.
    • You may need to practice this many times a day. Slowly increase the amount of time you spend during each practice session.
  • Pursed-lip breathing: This breathing method can be used any time you feel short of breath. Pursed-lip breathing can be especially helpful before you start an activity.
    • Breathe in slowly through your nose. Be sure you are using the muscles in your abdomen to help fill your lungs with air.
    • Slowly breathe out through your mouth with your lips pursed (slightly puckered). An example of pursed lips is when you pucker your lips to blow out a candle. You should make a quiet hissing sound as you breathe out through your pursed lips.
    • Try to take as long as you can to breathe out (count to four as you breathe out).
    • Repeat this exercise several times.

For support and more information:

  • Myasthenia Gravis Foundation of America, Inc.
    355 Lexington Avenue, 15th Floor
    New York , NY 10017
    Phone: 1- 800 - 541-5454
    Web Address:

Contact your healthcare provider or neurologist if:

  • You have diarrhea or an upset stomach after you take your medicine.
  • You have a fever, cough, or a cold.
  • You have morning headaches.
  • You miss taking any of your medicines used to treat your myasthenia gravis.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.

Seek care immediately or call 911 if:

  • You suddenly have trouble breathing or swallowing.
  • You suddenly have trouble talking.
  • Your symptoms worsen even after you take your medicines.

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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Learn more about Myasthenic Crisis (Discharge Care)

Associated drugs

IBM Watson Micromedex

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.