Home-based exercise in autoimmune myasthenia gravis: A randomized controlled trial

Neuromuscul Disord. 2021 Aug;31(8):726-735. doi: 10.1016/j.nmd.2021.05.002. Epub 2021 May 27.


The tolerance of exercise and its effects on quality of life in myasthenia gravis are not currently backed up by strong evidence. The aim of this study was to determine whether exercise as an adjunct therapy is well tolerated and can improve health-related quality of life (HRQoL) in stabilized, generalized autoimmune myasthenia gravis (gMG). We conducted a parallel-group, multi-center prospective RCT using computer-generated block randomization. Adults with stabilized, gMG, and no contra-indication to exercise, were eligible. Participants received usual care alone or usual care and exercise. The exercise intervention consisted of 3-weekly 40 min sessions of an unsupervised, moderate-intensity home rowing program over 3 months. The primary endpoint was the change in HRQoL from randomization to post-intervention. Assessor-blinded secondary endpoints were exercise tolerance and effects on clinical, psychological and immunological status. Of 138 patients screened between October 2014 and July 2017, 45 were randomly assigned to exercise (n = 23) or usual care (n = 20). Although exercise was well tolerated, the intention-to-treat analysis revealed no evidence of improved HRQoL compared to usual care (MGQOL-15-F; mean adjusted between-groups difference of -0.8 points, 95%CI -5.4 to 3.7). Two patients hospitalized for MG exacerbation were from the usual care group.

Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT02066519.

Keywords: Autoimmune disease; Exercise; Myasthenia gravis; Quality of life; Randomized controlled trial.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Exercise
  • Exercise Therapy / methods*
  • Exercise Tolerance
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Myasthenia Gravis / therapy*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Quality of Life

Associated data

  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT02066519