Improvement in Health and Possible Reduction in Disease Activity Using Endurance Exercise in Patients With Established Polymyositis and Dermatomyositis: A Multicenter Randomized Controlled Trial With a 1-Year Open Extension Followup


  • identifier: NCT01184625.



To determine the effects of a 12-week endurance exercise program on health, disability, VO2 max, and disease activity in a multicenter randomized controlled trial in patients with established polymyositis (PM) and dermatomyositis (DM), and to evaluate health and disability in a 1-year open extension study.


Patients were randomized into a 12-week endurance exercise program group (EG; n = 11) or a control group (CG; n = 10). Assessments of health (Short Form 36 [SF-36]), muscle performance (5 voluntary repetition maximum [5 VRM]), activities of daily living (ADL), patient preference (McMaster Toronto Arthritis Patient Preference Disability Questionnaire), VO2 max, and disease activity (International Myositis Assessment and Clinical Studies criteria of improvement of the 6-item core set) were performed at 0 and 12 weeks. Disability assessments were performed again at 52 weeks in an open extension period. All assessments were performed by blinded observers.


The EG improved compared to the CG in SF-36 physical function and vitality (P = 0.010 and P = 0.046, respectively), ADL score (P = 0.035), 5 VRM (P = 0.026), and VO2 max (P = 0.010). More patients in the EG (7 of 11) were responders with reduced disease activity compared to none in the CG (P = 0.002). Correlations between VO2 max and SF-36 physical function were 0.90 and 0.91 at 0 and 12 weeks, respectively (P < 0.05). The EG improvement in 5 VRM was sustained up to 52 weeks compared to baseline (5.7 kg; P < 0.001), but not in ADL score or SF-36.


Endurance exercise improves health and may reduce disease activity in patients with established PM/DM. This potentially could be mediated through improved aerobic fitness. The results also indicate sustained muscle strength up to 1 year after a supervised program.